After a short break it was back to local patching again a couple of days ago (Weds 18th) on a dull dry morning.
The weirdest discovery was a plastic box inside a camouflaged sleeve under a tree root! I opened it up (as you would) and found that it was a box in the game called Geocaching, where folk hunt using GPS coordinates for such boxes. I left a message in the notebook in the box & popped it back where I’d found it!
Back to birds and as it always seems to be after going to see a rarity (the Black-headed Wagtail) it was pretty quiet on patch. A few things stood out, like a male Kestrel over the mosslands as well as a Reed Bunting and a couple of Linnets there and an Oystercatcher flying over, but heard calling only. A large bird in the distance with long, slightly bowed wings and a slow languid wing beat had my heart racing before I lifted my bins, could it be an Osprey or maybe just a Heron? No, but still totally unexpected it was a Great Black-backed Gull, over inland Cheshire in mid/late April, definitely a strange record. My first brood of Mallards were 7 ducklings on the flooded field pool by the entrance track. A Goldcrest was nice to see, my first for April 2018 and 2 Coal Tits were also in the pines. A single Swallow was over Big Pool and the common 3 warbler species, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, were numerous. A Lapwing was sitting in an area in which they bred last year. Again Green Woodpecker was recorded as well as 45 Tufted Ducks, but no Smew.
A walk yesterday (19th) after work to take advantage of a bright, warm, sunny evening saw the female Smew back on Big Pool. A decrease in the numbers of fishermen and an increase in Tufted Duck numbers suggested that with less disturbance the ducks were less skulky or that some had returned from other pools in the area, along with the Smew.
Also today, because of the sunshine and the real reason for the walk, 2 Comma and 1 Peacock Butterfly. queen Red-tailed Bumblebee, queen Common Carder Bee, Tawny Mining Bee and White/Buff-tailed Bumblebee. A Ruby Tiger Moth caterpillar was found on the walk on Weds 18th too (pictured)
Hopefully things will hot up soon with more migrants arriving and maybe something unexpected will drop in, spring is always a great season of hope for new arrivals!