The weather was very changeable this morning, with clear blue skies followed by brief rain showers and then sleet and then back to clear blue and so on, all the while with a chilly breeze.
But regardless of the weather, finally clocked my first Wheatear of the year. I was heading down the tree line to see for anything when I spotted it distantly on the wall near the NK pond. Panic ensued as I had no idea how long it was gonna stay there and badly wanted a photo, but not to worry, it stayed settled if distant. However, once it did go down it did not come back up in the 15 mins or so that I waited...
No sooner had I got eyes on the Wheatear than did another patch yeartick overhead calling, a Siskin. On multiple occasions over Easter I have sworn I heard Siskin calling but nothing had ever become of it so I elected to ignore it. So to finally get eyes on one was a big relief.
And the 3rd patch yeartick of the day was a pair of Mistle Thrushes I picked up whilst walking back.
Other notable birds for the morning were a pair of Oystercatchers feeding with the Lapwings on the bottom field adjacent to the pond, and a redshank calling but I was unable to get eyes on it, despite its obvious continued presence...
So pleased with the Wheatear. I really did not know if they were going to arrive before I left back to uni. Wheatear was my 50th point was Patchwork Challenge this year, and with the other additions to the yearlist I now sit very nicely on 52 points from 48 species.
Its all looking good
Soil Hill: Blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Wren, Kestrel, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Siskin, Northern Wheatear, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Carrion Crow,
The weather seemed to settle down this afternoon, so I decided to have another wander up the hill in the hope something moving through. Sadly not, there was nothing moving really. The Oystercatchers were still present but that was the best of it bird wise. Also interesting were a massive increase in the number of Meadow Pipits present. I had noticed a few birds moving this morning, but on this afternoons visit I must have flushed a flock of at least 40 birds from one of the fields, and a flock of around 20 birds was feeding in the fields near my house too...
However, there was a nice bonus in the form a Weasel running along one of the walls. Smashing little things to see, and then as I was leaving I also got a Stoat but it was much too quick for a photo. Two of the Roe Deer were also feeding near the NK pond.
Soil Hill: Magpie, Woodpigeon, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Kestrel, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Curlew, Starling,
I spent the morning round at other sites so only came up for an afternoon visit to the old hill today. The wind had completely dropped and the sky only had intermittent cloud, meaning it was a warm and pleasant day.
In terms of birdlife it was very quiet, the best of it being an Oystercatcher still down on the playing fields and a singing Linnet. I headed down into the dell on the western side where I hoped there might be something and I was duly rewarded with another patch tick: TAWNY OWL. It must have been roosting in the trees there and I completely missed it until I spooked it. My attempts to relocate it spooked it again and after that it went round the trees and I could not find it again. Its wings were clearly shorter than a LEO or SEO and there was no golden patch on the top sides of the wings. It was certainly not a species I expected to see and I am gutted that I was unable to get a better view of it...
Soil Hill: Pied Wagtail, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Carrion Crow, Skylark, Kestrel, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Tawny Owl. Greenfinch, Linnet, Lapwing,
Bitterly cold wind up there is morning which probably accounts for the lack of birds. Nothing out of the ordinary today.
Soil Hill: Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Moorhen, Lapwing
Since it rained all day it was an evening visit today, and I was again rewarded with a Long-eared Owl flying around the hill. That being said it was very tricky to track down as it was extremely mobile. I only managed awful distant record shots, but it was still awesome through the bins. The only other birds really were the two Oystercatchers lingering on the bottom fields.
Soil Hill: Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Long-eared Owl, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Long-eared Owl, Grey Heron,