Naturelog: Friday 14th March

Posted: March 15, 2014 in Birds, Butterflies and Moths, Insects, Natural History
Tags: , , , , ,

The weather this morning could not have been more different to Thursday. The Sun was bright as I set off to complete the winter Thrush survey for my patch and surrounding areas. My first stop was the Tarn.

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From the bridge I spotted a male Blackcap in the bushes at the east end of the lake (an area where I believe they have nested before). Was this a new arrival or the male from the pair that had been around the garden during the winter? I began to scan across the golf course and then a Mallard flushed a small pale bird from the grass. It distinctive tail pattern clearly said it was a Northern Wheatear (one of our earliest spring migrants). It flew away and disappeared behind some bushes. Sadly I was not able to re-locate it. Judging by the overall pale sandy colour this was a female. This is a first record for both the patch and the area.

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Female Northern Wheatear
Photo by Ron Knight (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sussexbirder/)

Elsewhere on the Tarn the Canada Geese were clearly pairing up and this was leading to some very aggressive behavior between males and between pairs

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Leaving the Tarn I went to Fairy Hill which was quiet except for a brief sighting of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (my first of the year).

I then continued on around Eltham Palace, where a Chiffchaff was in the gardens and then down King John’s Walk. Pleased to see a number of House Sparrows again in the area by the riding stables and to find another Small Tortoiseshell – This one far more co-operative as it sunned itself on the path

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I completed the circuit by walking back home alongside the allotments and fields in Middle Park and was delighted to find 2 pairs of House Sparrows only 100 metres from the Tarn and so there is hope that one day if they continue to expand we may have this once very common bird back on the patch list.

And what of winter thrushes? Not one to be seen despite the fact that two Redwing had been seen by the Tarn yesterday. That’s natural History for you. You go out looking for winter vistors and come back having seen the first of the summer vistors, but then that’s why I love it so much.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)

White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)
Solitary Bee Sp (unidentified)

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