A late Blog post (sorry) for my most recent visit to Newchurch Common, which was on Friday 20th April, on a lovely warm and sunny spring day.
The female Smew was still present on Big Pool, in her now favoured spot, by the submerged willow spit. Now around 60 Tufted Ducks are now frequenting the pool, her carrier flock must be amongst them and as long as they stay then she will too. A single Greylag Goose flew over Small Pool and also on Small Pool 5 adult Mute Swans was an unusual record, given that the resident pair usually chase all other swans away.
On the passerine front a male Reed Bunting was at Gull Pool and a Skylark still sang nearby over the nursery fields by the mosslands. A Collared Dove, a patch scarcity, was in The Paddocks estate near the parking area. A Pied Wagtail was in the former set-aside field, which is becoming a regular spot for this species since it was ploughed.
Being sunny I held out high hopes for insect sightings and wasn’t disappointed when I recorded my first Green Hairstreaks of the year with 10+ on the mosslands. The earliest reports for the whole of the UK were only two days earlier so this constitutes a really good record. Other butterflies present, again in the same area, were my first Green-veined White, and Comma and Peacock. At least 10 Green Tiger Beetles were on the mosslands too, with four even watched in territorial battle on a sandy mound, a type of lek I suppose! Also present were Whirlygig Beetles and Pond Skaters. Two queen Tree Bumblebees were seen too, prospecting for nest holes around mature trees by the Whitegate Way.
A visit two days later for half an hour on Sunday 22nd allowed the Smew to be confirmed as still present.