I was just about to leave for a day at Old Moor this morning, packing my scope into my bag, and from outside the kitchen I heard “Chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff”. I couldn’t spot it, but then Laura shouted me upstairs because there were two birds in the top of the tree in the back garden, a “blue tit and a little dull one”. Any birds in our garden is a blessing, and this was a particularly good find.
I wish more confusing birds were like the Chiffchaff, and shouted their name to help identification. It would be great to travel through woodlands and hear “Willow-Tit-Willow-Tit-Willow-Tit”, or walk by the sea and hear the plaintive cries of “Arctic-TERN! Arctic-TERN!”.
So on to Old Moor, and one of the first birds I saw was my first Sand Martin of the year, flying over the mere, and I saw a couple of more of them there later. There were also a few more Chiffchaffs chiffchaffing away.
I set myself a playful goal today of finding 50 species on one visit. I failed, but got a healthy 47 (yes I will list them in full anally-retentive glory at the bottom of the post). I thought I may have 48, but the grey goose I thought would be something exciting turned out to be a Greylag with a funny beak.
I do love this time of year, as you can see practically anything – for example the first of the migrants were joined by a straggling Whooper Swan.
Two target species I had today were Ringed Plover and Green Woodpecker. The Ringed Plovers completely failed to show (ah well, later in the month…), and I spent ages in one hide scanning the trees for the woodpeckers. I left and walked into another hide, and a man with an unfeasibly large telescope said to me, before I’d even closed the door, “you’ve just missed a green woodpecker!”. Fantastic. I console myself with the fact that with his scope he was probably watching one in bloody Doncaster or something.
As promised, here’s today’s full list:
Blackbird, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collared Dove, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Greylag Goose, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Robin, Ruddy Duck, Sand Martin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Starling, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren