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One Swallow doesn't make a Summer 6/4/2018

Another short morning walk on Newchurch Common and the weather couldn't have been more different from yesterday, being cold, breezy and overcast.

Arriving with a heart full of expectation of more Spring migrants having arrived overnight I wasn't disappointed. I headed straigh for Sandiway Big Pool and was greeted with a big fall of hirundines, the air above the pool was teeming with them skimming low over the surface. There were c.70 Sand Martins in the flock which also contained 5 Swallows and 1 House Martin, so all three species of hirundine ticked off in one go, not what I usually do! I was a little hypnotised watching them but managed to spend a few minutes checking the rest of the pool. The female Smew (pictured) was actually hauled out under dense vegetation on the island, incredibly hard to see, but still around There were a lot more fishermen on and they were on pegs adjacent to all her favoured spots so I think she had been totally displaced. Two drake Shovelers lurked in the submerged willow spit on Big Pool and my first Gadwall for ages was a drake on Small Pool. The Cormorant was still on Big Pool too. Three Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over the former set-aside field.

Two Collared Doves were in 'The Paddocks' estate, this species, although very common in my garden less than 3 miles away, is a scarcity on my Newchurch Common patch. Three Fieldfares were in trees north of Big Pool, another hangover from winter. A Long-tailed Tit was collecting nest material in the Pine Belt to restore thoughts of Spring. Two Stock Doves flew over the north side too.

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