Saturday, 23 April 2011

Terns on Patch

Cuckoo Flower

The Comma seemed attracted to the white material.

Herb Robert

'I'm not moving'.

23rd April. I took a walk today half hoping that I might find Common Whitethroat, but had no luck. However, I was soon listening to Blackcap, Chiffchaff and eventually Willow Warbler. This was the first of the latter that I have found on patch this year and as usual they are greatly out numbered by Chiffchaff. I seem to have interrupted courtship and/or territorial dispute as three or four Chiffchaffs met briefly in the tree in front of me. I noticed one of the birds had a great deal of green colouring in the rump and flanks. I may have got thinking about species if I hadn’t heard it calling.

The lightest of showers passed by almost unnoticed although thunder followed later in the day. A Grey Heron flew overhead on a couple of occasions and the air was full of bird song. One of the first butterflies seen was Orange Tip, and some courtship was taking place followed by the male flying low over the ground, I assume looking for more females. I noticed a good amount of Cuckoo Flower around today and it is no coincidence that this is one of the main larval food plants of the Orange Tip. Other butterflies seen where, Small White, Green Veined White, Comma and Peacock. Commas seem to be around in number this spring and this one seemed attracted to a piece of white material. The Commas I have found this year have all been very easy to photograph.

I walked across to the lake where I found what appeared to be a lone Swallow flying low over the lake and three Common Terns which were calling as they flew back and forth across the lake, often swooping down to the surface. These were my first Common Terns for the year. Two Common Terns were seen at the lake throughout the summer last year. Such streamlined and elegant birds. I’d noticed Cow Parsley was now in flower and also found my first Herb Robert of the year.

The two Greylag Geese remain at the lake. Two Coots are on nests on the small lake and all appears well with the Great Crested Grebes. The floating reed-bed is a complete mess now although still offering some shelter and the Coot chicks are growing fast. I noticed at least one large family of Mallard chicks. Numbers of Pochard remain on the lake.

I was hot as I walked home. A Pied Wagtail called and flew overhead. I reckon there’s rain on the way, maybe overnight, although the forecast for tomorrow suggests another fine day.

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