The Safari was out before sunrise this morning along the North Blackpool Pond Trail on our last ever Winter Thrushes survey. The world had the fresh green cast of unfurling leaves but the birdsong was still only made up of resident birds though with Blackbirds, Woodpigeons, Collared |Doves, Dunnocks, Robins, Wrens, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Blue Tits and Great Tits so it still smacked of winter out there.
A few opening flowers of Bluebells, native, Spanish and hybrids made it a little more springlike and it was reasonably mild for the time of year at about 10C. A few heads of Hedge Garlic were coming out too, bring on the Orange Tip butterflies!
A little further along it sounded a bit more summery with Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing away at the Community Orchard as we neared our survey's starting point.
The second bird on our survey was a singing Song Thrush giving it plenty a hundred yards further on, this was the only one we heard, indeed it was the only thrush that wasn't a Blackbird and they were down a bit on recent visits probably because half of them might well be sat on nests. Or maybe not as we saw a female carrying a huge long strand of grass in to the hedge by the long ditch.
Thrush action was interrupted by four Cormorants flying north at height. We thought they might drop on to the nearby lake but they kept going straight on, unlike us who broke off the survey route for a few minutes and did visit the lake where in the scrub we heard the liquid cadences of three Willow Warblers (130), two days earlier than last year but about the average date for us for this species but they have been in awhile and we haven't had the chance to get near any.
On the islands a Heron was attending to it's well grown youngster in the first nest while in the other the adult was hunkered well down.
The only notable thing about the second part of the survey was notable for the wrong reason, few Blackbirds but freakin shed loads of cats, they were everywhere!In the end we only had 23 Blackbirds and the aforementioned Song Thrush on the tally sheet.
Once back at Base Camp we opened the moth trap to find a small number lurking within...whoopy-do - success.
Well it wasn't that brilliant just two Hebrew Characters, a Common Quaker and an Early Grey, nothing over exciting but the Early Grey didn't appear last year so it was nice to get reacquainted with one.
In the garden a bit later doing some chores we heard an 'alba' Wagtail go over, there's a few Whites about at the mo but we'll have to track them down on the ground no chance of IDing an overflying bird.
A flying visit for a brew and drop off some firewood from his current job by our Extreme Photographer saw us in the garden again. We noticed that a chunk of wood had fallen at the back of the woodstore and we footled it out only to see a freshly deceased moth on it - had we just deceased it, hope not - a quick check - well you have to don't you - revealed it as a male Bee Moth, thought these were a summer species mid-April seems a bit early for one to be out and about, it's not been that warm has it? There is a Tree Bee nest just above where we found it - coincidence or not??? They larvae live in the nests of bees eating the waxy cocoons.
A quick trip with Frank to Magpie wood mid-afternoon gave us a nice selection of songsters at the golden Triangle, Woodpigeon, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff. They all went a bit quiet when Sparrowhawk lashed through.
In sports news the mighty Blues Everton scored their winner at the same moment as the lowly 'Pool conceded their second, Europe for one perhaps relegation looms frighteningly large for the other.Where to next? Moffy will be out again tonight.
In the meantime let us know who's brought the summer with them in your outback.