Sunday, 28 April 2013

One in the Eye for Wordsworth

That over-rated miserable ornithologist without a decent pair of binoculars, who relied for his best poems on the recollections of his sister said:
O BLITHE New-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice.
O Cuckoo! Shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?

Well, Friday morning's group actually saw a Cuckoo fly east past them before they actually heard one this year.  Unfortunately, it was so quick there was no time for pictures.

Cuckoo - flying past a few years ago

Blackcap [female]
On Friday we walked along the edge of a lonely canal despite the threat of scattered showers. We got away with it in the morning, and in the afternoon there were just a few flecks of sleet, and then a few drops of rain. Shortly after entering the gate we had a Blackcap, swiftly followed by a Treecreeper and an elusive Willow Warbler. Shortly afterwards we heard the first of nearly 20 Sedge Warblers. These were very hard to see well, but we did see 3 fairly clearly by the end of the morning. A Reed Bunting was perched in the open but it was making its 'seep' call, rather than its monotonous song. Quite early on we had some people's closest ever view of a Chiffchaff - it was almost within touching distance.
 Reed Bunting
A little further down we heard the 1st of at least 3 Yellowhammers, but it wasn't until we had been walking for an hour before we had a really good view of a Willow Warbler, and there was a 2nd Chiffchaff nearby.
A long way down the canal I spotted a Cuckoo heading east. Later, we could hear what was presumably a different bird in the far west. Over the whole length of the canal I heard 2 short bursts from a Reed Warbler, but we never even saw either of those. By the end of the morning there were quite a few Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on the wing, and a single White, possibly a Green-veined White. Rather disappointingly we didn't manage to see a single Grass Snake. 
Sedge Warbler
 Willow Warbler
 Small Tortoiseshell

On the way back we saw at least 3 Bullfinches, but we didn't get great views. m the forenoon the main difference were the good views of a pair of Blackcaps, especially the female.

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