An Oystercatcher was heard flying over in the darkness last night; good Patch 1 tick (32).
With it being a cloudless night and a bright dawn Woodpigeon Wood was just about empty all its incumbents having left for the day apart from a cooing male. The Magpies were long gone.
In the park it was quiet apart from the Wrens which were giving it plenty and the Collared Doves and Woodpigeons which are now in full voice. There were plenty of Blackbirds scuffling through the leaf litter but none were in song.
A Sparrowhawk was sitting owl-like on a branch with a Robin letting all the inhabitants of the park know it was there in no uncertain terms. A little later we saw it or another weaving through the trees of the Butterfly Zone, a singing Chaffinch was nice to hear there unphased by its deadly neighbour.
One of the Peregrines was on the ledge, it won’t be long before they head off to their breeding area, wherever that is we hope it’s a safe one well away from raptor persecuting numpties of which there seems to be an increasing number in this part of the world. The Americans have the right idea a $100,000 (£60,000) fine or a year in clink – that’d make your average numbnut think twice...but it didn’t in Tennessee – twice!!!
On the way down the hill a skein of about 50 Pink Footed Geese flew north at some height making their way back to Iceland and several large flocks of Starlings were seen flying out to their feeding areas, not overhead today they were a good way to the south of us. In a neighbours Holly tree we heard the tinkling notes of waking Goldfinches, by the sound of it there were probably about 20 in there, we peering in and saw one having a good stretch and a yawn.
Over on Patch 2 conditions were just about perfect, low sun, light offshore wind and mild temperatures. Out at sea it was easy to see the 500+ distant Common Scoters, along with two Red Throated Divers. Closer in a solitary male Eider looked very fine and dapper. Then we spotted a familiar shape poking above the wavelets, the nose of a Grey Seal, first of the year and only mammal tick number 4 for the year, we’re not doing very well for the hairy things so far.
On the beach there were a lot of gulls but by the time we’d thoroughly checked out the sea the dog walkers were out in force and most of the gulls had moved out of range. A quick look on the northern part of the patch wasn’t much different, a few Redshanks and Oystercatchers were up there too but again soon disturbed by the ubiquitous doggy brigade.
Overhead we heard a Pied(?) Wagtail, it’s now time to call them ‘alba’ Wagtails, and a Skylark (42), the small stuff is on the move...
Opening the door to go back out at lunchtime a Small Tortoiseshell flew around the garden, first butterfly of the year.
Out on the wall the tide was out but the beach was over-run with mutts and mostly bird free. On the sea there were possibly double the number of Common Scoters than earlier, they were everywhere we looked scattered about all the way to the horizon.
The Grey Seal and drake Eider had hardly moved during the morning and near them we found a summer plumaged Great Crested Grebe. Another ‘alba’ Wagtail went over.
A very kind chap came and threw some bread out on to the beach which brought a hundred or so gulls close to the wall but despite the great views we didn’t note anything out of the ordinary.
Where to next? More of the sunny same please.
In the meantime he’s the catch up pics we took on Saturday. Hardly awe inspiring - a Lupin
And an old gnarled Oak tree.
Late Edit - just been out with Frank and got a Patch 1 life tick - 22 Whooper Swans heading north, picked up on call as they flew over the bottom end of the estate, magical...71 for the patch now and 33 for the year. Also a pair of Long Tailed Tits prospecting - will have to keep an eye on that patch of Brambles and see if they start building.
Six new trees have been planted on the roadside verge, two on our side and four on the opposite side of the road, all the same species as the others, Norway Maple? Looking good though.