MORNING WALK INTO YEO VALLEY - 2 NEW SPECIES FOR THE ISOLATION LIST TODAY!!
WEATHER; a superb morning, clear blue sky, light southerly breeze, exceptional good light. Cloudy later and showers.
It was indeed another fantastic morning, perfect conditions for a birdy walk and boy was it busy out there. It seems, that all of a sudden, every bird is either singing, busy building a nest or sitting on eggs. There are two active Magpie nests within the first 100 meters of my walk. A Crow's nest which is very close to the Nuthatch nest is now occupied and the Buzzards are also sitting.
In this picture (if you zoom in) you can see the block where our flat is, the Crow's nest is just left of the LHS of the power lines and the Nuthcatch nest is in the the third tree from the right.
The tell-tale sign that someone is home - the tip of the tail of the Carrion Crow
A pair of Blue Tits are still busy digging out debris from a hole besides the stream, they must going in and out every 15-20 seconds, amazingly busy.
The busy Blue Tits - they go into the lower hole and within seconds come out of the top hole carrying debris
The Nuthatches are still rebuilding, I couldn't see whether there was new damage or they are just being super-fussy about the entrance hole.
The Nuthatch - you see a new mound of mud on the RHS of the nest hole - why is it there??
I see more Woopdecker activity these days, the pair of Green Woodpeckers seem to be everywhere and are always together, perhaps they are searching for a new tree in which to make a new home.
I had some luck with the Kingfishers this morning too. I crept up to the 'presumed' nest site and waited for a while. Then a Kingfisher flew in carrying a fish. I was standing on the bank about 3 meters above the stream and the bird landed just behind some twigs, I could see movement, I assumed he was bashing the fish on a branch to kill it, he then flew off away from me. I walked a few meters and a second Kingfisher flew off, doh!!
I now assumed that the male had brought a fish to the female and then they had mated and all this happened just below the presumed nest-hole, its looking good.
Well I had more excitement to come! After another 100 meters I saw a bird 'flycatching', it was brown and I quickly assumed it to be a Spotted Flycatcher, wrong!!! It was a WILLOW WARBLER my first one this year and 'isolation bird number 49. I followed it for a while but lost it in the thick scrub.
Even more excitement came at the confluence of the stream and the River Yeo. I heard the mournful call of the Bullfinch and couldn't find the bird, after about another 50 meters I heard it again but this time it was much louder.
Suddenly there they were, a pair of EURASIAN BULLFINCHES, my favourite English bird (after Corn Bunting of course!!) , wow, wow!! I was in heaven, they showed very well as they nipped off the buds of the blackthorn bushes, click, click. This was species number 50 on my quarantine list and a very fitting species too.
the male Bullfinch - what a striking bird
the pair of them
I was high as kite for next hour, I treid hard to locate a Song Thrush that was belting out his repetitious four note phrases, but it was too far into the woods to be seen. Whilst looking up I saw a Sparrowhawk displaying. It was climbing high and dropping fast whilst spreading out its white rump-feathers.
Further along the River Yeo I found where the second pair of Green Woodpeckers had chosen to nest. It was in a broken tree-trunk, a place where I had seen this species a couple of times recently. This time I spent a while searching the trunk, which is right beside the river and you can't walk all around it without falling into the river. Anyway, I found a freshly made hole, Green Woodpecker size, I do hope another pair of Nuthatches don't find it!!
the Green Woodpecker nest site
I photographed a Dunnock singing but the light was bad, I realised I had not shown you a picture of this common, but beautiful garden bird.
Dunnock in full song, an often overlooked species, it is beautiful and so is its song
The breeze had picked up and clouds started to appear from the south/west, wet ones. The walk back was punctuated with short stops to look at RED ADMIRAL & PEACOCK butterflies and I also saw a SMALL WHITE (not a female Orange Tip).
My last bird of the morning was another WILLOW WARBLER, this one was singing. I do love the melodic song of this little gem, the notes just slide effortlessly down the scale in a short burst. That made my day, my week even!!
Willow Warbler - you're goona' have to take my word for it! It was the best I could with just my phone and scope and a bird that was constantly on the move.