Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Early April

Various bits and pieces to report on, beginning with a gorgeous day on the patch.

With so much birdsong at Church Marsh this morning I made an attempt to count everything I saw and heard, later to be uploaded to Birdtrack, cue feeling of warm and fuzzyness. Blackcap are here in force, 12 singing males counted. Chiffchaff seem to have quietened down, perhaps busy with nest building, since only 4 were heard. At least 4 Willow Warbler were also singing. It was decent on the lagoon, with male Shelduck, nesting Oystercatcher, Green Sandpiper, 12 Teal and 4 Gadwall. Elsewhere, a single Swallow was new for the year and always a fine sight. Perhaps I am the first person s/he has encountered since arriving on these shores. Quite a thought.

This afternoon I walked along the river over-looking Langley Marshes. At least 11 Lapwing were present, a decent count at this time of year. Marsh Harriers displayed overhead, and young Rooks cawed noisily from their nests. The addition of the drains and sluice suggests Langley could be very productive in the future. I was pleased today to add Shovelor and Pochard to my year list, both species loafing in the sluice. Pochard are not easy south of the river either!

Other than that, a working trip to Minsmere on the 31st yielded a lovely male Ferruginous Duck along with booming Bittern. A snatch of Sedge Warbler song was the first I have heard from that species this year, fairly early.

Around Surlingham, Butterfly numbers have increased with Orange Tip and GV White on the wing, joining Peacock, Comma, Small Tort and Brimstone. Mother delivered the Moth trap over the weekend so a couple of evenings with the light on produced Common Quaker, Early Grey and Early Thorn. Having not done this for some time I am having to re-teach myself what I am studying, although sometimes I get lucky and can ID a species moreorless straight away.

In other news, I am delighted to become a mentor for A Focus On Nature, you can see what excellent work they do here: http://www.afocusonnature.org/. The young conservationist movement is in safe hands.
Tomorrow morning I leave for the Scottish Highlands, in search of wilderness and the obvious Scottish specialities. First stop after the airport- Loch Flemington for Yankee Coot!

 Snake Eyes at Langley.
 Early Thorn being early in the garden.
Black Sexton Beetle. Interesting critter, also in the trap.

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