Gorgeous weather this week has meant plenty of opportunity for after work outings and in my continuing search for spring migrants I’ve spent them all out on patch. Tuesday evening saw us make a relatively brief outing up to Bryn-bach-Common where at least two Stonechats were perched around the pylons whilst a distant Red Kite briefly had me clamouring for something a little rarer. A trio of Reed Buntings feeding amongst last years Bracken fronds were a good record and I was surprised to find when I got back home that these were my first on patch this year. Result.
Wednesday saw us heading back up to the Common when a bird perched on the fence caught me eye. Could it be?
Yes it could! At last a Wheatear on patch and a pristine male at that. It only stayed still for a minute or so before heading out across the fields and beyond my reach. I did pick it up again briefly but it soon vanished, hopefully a long stayer rather than a bird on passage. With spirits considerably lifted we headed down into the valley where good views of Green Woodpecker, a Coal Tit collecting nesting material, several Mistle Thrushes and an overflying Sparrowhawk were crowned, quite unbelievably, by a Treecreeper. Regular readers will no doubt recall my lamenting of this species seeming disappearance from my patch, a loss I have been trying to overturn ever since the Patchwork Challenge began. I knew the habitat was right and that they must have been present so to have my persistence pay off is fantastic. Now all I need to do is get one on camera for prosperity.
Judging from the sequence of arrivals seen elsewhere I had my fingers crossed on Thursday that our first Willow Warblers wouldn’t be far behind, and would you believe it there were two singing up on Goppa Hill. Rather predictably they chased each other off but I got better views shortly after though nothing worth sharing on here just yet. As always I will be embarking on my yearly struggle to photograph warblers so fingers crossed for some good results. Red Kites in contrast are always willing to put on a show and this one over the garden was no different. What I hadn’t noticed at the time was the tag in its wing but unfortunately my photo doesn’t show it clearly enough to be able to read any details. Definitely a bird to watch out for though as it would be interesting to see where our local population originates from.
With four new ticks across three days I was feeling pretty pleased with myself but remarkably we managed to add yet one more on Friday. This time it was a quartet of Linnets feeding on seed heads amongst the grass, a welcome return for a species which abandons my patch over winter. Such great progress surely means that the Swallows should be here next week and from then on it’s anyone’s guess as to how the rest of this years Patchwork Challenge will pan out.
2015: 54 / 2014: 64