Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The last patch visit of March was a continuation of the frustrating times encountered throughout most of this month, with a gale force wind blowing throughout the day, very little of note was seen or heard, there were however some decent sunny spells, especially later in the morning, when my attention turned to watching a couple of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies at the Greenhouse grounds, where I also found my first Green Veined White Butterfly.

Small Tortoiseshell, luckily it was on the ground, the only thing not blowing around in the gale!

While at the Greenhouse Grounds the KESTREL pair were seen, the female being perched on the edge of the nest box.

Early in the visit the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley didn't give me any migrants, just 7 HERRING GULLS, 4 BLACK HEADED GULLS and 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS were of note, I was glad to get over into the woods for some relief from the wind.

Not much could be heard above the roar of the wind and clattering of branches, only the song of a CHIFFCHAFF reached my ears, but I did get views of GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER and LONG TAILED TIT eventually.

A pair of MANDARIN DUCKS were visiting the main lake, along with some squabbling CANADA GEESE and GREYLAG GEESE, but other than those it was down to the usual four species of MUTE SWAN, COOT, MALLARD and MOORHEN.

I ended up back over on my seat at Migrant Alley, hoping for something nice to flyover, but it was just too windy, very little was seen apart from the Local BUZZARD pair.

 View North from my seat - empty skies  :-(

So with nothing added to the months list today, March ends on 65 species, the joint 7th lowest total out of 14 and 3 below the mean average total for the previous 5 March's, the likes of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll were notable absences, only once has March not had Siskin on the list, that was back in 2007. Scarcer species such as Snipe, Woodcock, Brambling, Goosander, or a visit from the Peregrine or my old mate the feral Barnacle Goose all could have been reasonably expected, but it was not to be! The 14 year average species count for March, of 64, was just surpassed and the 14 year combined March list was incremented by one, to 93, that addition being Great Black backed Gull.

The year list had 6 additions during March, those being, Mandarin Duck, Teal, Great Black Backed Gull, Red Kite, Red Legged Partridge and Chiffchaff, taking the year tally to 74, which is 35 behind my target of 109 species for 2015, that being the average tally for the previous 5 years.

Monday, 30 March 2015

The last full patch walk and penultimate patch visit for March was undertaken in improved weather, with sunny spells and variable cloud cover at times, although a strong chilly wind still blew.

My 6 hour visit came up with a very good tally of exactly 50 species, no new spring arrivals were on the list, so the March tally looks like it will be languishing down in joint 7th place out 14, that is unless something turns up tomorrow  :-)

The 50 species I did see included the 3 regular raptor species to be found on my patch, those being COMMON BUZZARD, KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK, the LITTLE OWL was also seen at the Greenhouse Copse and another heard at the Small Holding.

The sheep pasture had 4 HERRING GULLS, 1 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and just 1 BLACK HEADED GULL this morning, I wonder if the main flock have now moved off to their breeding grounds? Also on the fields were 2 FIELDFARE, the only winter thrushes seen on my walk.

The wooded areas produced all that I expected, except for Nuthatch and Long Tailed Tit, the pick of those that were seen were the displaying GOLDCREST pair, the nest building TREECREEPER, plus singing CHIFFCHAFF and COAL TIT. The lakes were as they have been for a while now, just CANADA GEESE, GREYLAG GEESE, MUTE SWAN, MALLARD, COOT and MOORHEN were on the water, I wonder where my old friend the Barnacle Goose has gone ? Ive not seen him this month.  :-)

Noteworthy flyovers seen today were the light passage of MEADOW PIPITS, plus a couple of YELLOWHAMMERS, a couple of SKYLARKS, a CORMORANT and a GREY HERON.

Despite some reasonable light nothing came near for a photograph, so i have snapped a few of my common garden visitors to brighten the blog, nothing different is visiting there either!

Not seen out on my patch walk, but a pair of LONG TAILED TITS were in my garden, as was a NUTHATCH......52 species for the day  :-)