Much like Gary Lineker, I've been everywhere lately. Not all of this 'everywhere' has been birding related sadly. I can however report that Lisbon is a super city, and it was here on the way back from beach football that I saw my first Bat of the year, probably a Pipistrelle sp. I have also been to Bath for a wedding, and the return journey through Berkshire threw up 15 Red Kites. An unidentified Butterfly near Thetford was a first of sorts.
Things are starting to pick up on the patch, finally. On Sunday 7th, Debs and I took the short walk from the pub to the hide in order to be back in time for dinner. I was thrilled to encounter 5 Brambling near the ferry, a sure sign that Winter was not yet prepared to loosen its grip. On the lagoon, 3 Shoveler had returned and a Little Egret stalked a smaller pool behind. Walking back, we stopped dead in our tracks as the sounds of a pair of courting Little Owl rang out. This pair have once again been pushed out of their preferred nesting hole by an Egyptian Goose, but have presumably re-located behind the gun club.
A return visit on Tuesday 9th finally felt like Spring, and I welcomed back 3/4 Chiffchaff. Last year, 3 had made it by the 29th of March! A Linnet over was NFY here, but other than that the presence of Redwing scattered around and the remaining Siskin told their own story. I finished by watching a male Marsh Harrier floated over the reedbed, spooking small numbers of Common Snipe.
Onto yesterday, and a trip to The Brecks. In genuinely warm sunshine, I sat and ate my lunch on a bench in the forest. A friendly walker alerted me to something strange hunting low over the water. I assumed Sand Martin, and was quite taken aback to see a Daubenten's Bat trawling for insects! Fantastic views were obtained, photos not so good. My first British Bat of the year, and in broad daylight.
Onto the birds, and the star was predictably a male Goshawk, a little distant to appreciate fully but nonetheless good to know they are there. Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard and a probable alighting Harris's Hawk completed the Raptor fest. Only 2 Chiffchaff were heard all day, and Redwing were the most numerous bird at one site! Other good bits included a singing Firecrest, Nuthatches seemingly abundant and a large flock of Chaffinches holding 2 Reed Buntings feeding on cover crop. A Golden Pheasant was heard at one site.
A final mention should go to the insects. The buzz and hum of The Brecks in Summer began today for me. There were many Orange Underwing Moths flying, and before my attention was stolen by the presumed escaped Harris's Hawk, I enjoyed the flutterings of my first real Butterfly of the year, a male Brimstone.
What next? Sunday looks good..........