It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to take the day after the May bank holiday as leave and to walk the southern fringe of the parish. Starting from Morton Bridge I walked downstream and then crossed over to the How Beck. I followed it south to the footbridge, and then round back to Greenhills Lane and (after a diversion to the Magic Garden) back home.
I clocked up a total of 61 species. These included my first Swift of the year over the Swale. Another pair of Common Sandpiper were on here....
Other sightings along the river included a pair of Shelduck, Goosander, Mute Swan, two Buzzard, Kingfisher and two Yellow Wagtails. The year of the Wheatear continues with two birds on the Swale bank and three more around the ‘Shelduck Pool’.
Near Tweddle’s spinney I had a small group of Lesser Redpoll.
This is the first May sighting for many years. Is it possible the odd pair may settle to breed?
I kept a log of singing birds today with an encouraging 22 Skylarks, six Corn Bunting but only three Whitethroat.
I assume this is because the latter haven’t arrived en masse yet as they are absent from a number of places I usually see them.
I also tallied two Lesser Whitethroat, nine singing Willow Warblers (of which four were in the Magic Garden), only five Chiffchaffs and four Blackcaps (all but one of which were in the garden). The habitat along the beck looks really good but had very few summer migrants in.
I assume the early arrivers occupy the prime spots and then these other areas will get colonised as numbers increase.
On the wader pool there were five Oystercatchers but on Sunday here I had a Greenshank, the first spring record for the parish.
The warmer conditions also brought out a few butterflies with half a dozen Small Tortoiseshells , a Peacock and my first Small White of the year.
Year List to end of April – 97 species.