Updated: Jul 1, 2018
To put it crudely I've got a snotty cold, I am the Bogeyman! But that didn't stop me getting out, far from it the need for a breath of fresh air was strong and so I wended my merry way to Newchurch Common, my local patch, tissue & cough sweets at the ready!
The first notable find was that the female Smew was back on Sandiway Big Pool after not being seen on my last two visits, but as she is mobile and elusive at the moment it's a matter of luck catching her on each visit. The other main highlight was the discovery of two White Wagtails on passage in the field that keeps on giving - the, now ploughed, set-aside. This field held a finch flock of 1000+ birds over the winter including an amazing 450 Bramblings and 300 Linnets. Immediately after ploughing gulls were attracted including an adult Yellow-legged Gull, and now a new species for the year in the shape of the nominate form of 'our' Pied Wagtail.
The rest of the walk was interspersed with good birds amongst the usual fare. At least three Chiffchaffs sang bravely in the cold & gloomy weather, the only summer migrants to have made it to my local patch so far. In contrast to a sign of the advent of summer, three Redwings and a Fieldfare were a hangover from winter. A Coal Tit was near 'Finch Hedge' and a Skylark sang its uplifting song over on the Mosslands, where a Rook, not seen often on patch, also flew over. A few Lapwings were in their breeding fields, taking to the air to vociferously defend their territory whenever a corvid flew over.
But what about the fungus?! Two species seen regularly on my walks were again evident adding a splash of colour to a dull day. The bright yellow 'Witches Butter' or Yellow Brain Fungus as it is better known, and the red of Scarlet Elf Cup showed that natures palette wasn't just full of greys and browns today!