6th April. Checking my records today I noticed I’d had my dates wrong in my mind as to the first Swallow seen on patch last year. I’d actually found them on 7th April and not 4th as I’d mentioned in a previous post. I had found two Swallows flying over the lake on 6th April 2010, so I couldn’t resist taking a look today even if it meant getting wet!
I walked up to the wagon-way, as I know Swallows nest in the buildings near the farm. First of all I took a diversion across the road and onto the open farmland which I thought would give me a better opportunity. I found numbers of Skylark and Meadow Pipits, but there was no sign what so ever of Swallows. The diversion did bring me a new patch tick in the form of two Red-legged Partridges which flew up in front of me. I’ve often found Grey Partridges, on patch but this is the first I’ve seen of Red-legged Partridge. I found that there is still quite a bit of snow in the area of the Cheviots.
I retraced a few of my steps and headed to the farm. There was no sign of Swallows here. I decided to walk back and take a look at the lake area. By now the rain was quite heavy. I found some early flowering Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata in the hedge and flowering Comfrey in the usual area, I’ve never decided exactly which species of Comfrey this is but I think it’s Russian Comfrey Symphytum x uplandicum. This plant used to be used for cattle fodder and it still grows on what was once farmland and is now bordering a housing estate.
By now I was not holding out any real hope of finding Swallows. As I walked past the church grounds I slowed to listen to the bird song. I heard one of several singing Song Thrushes here. Luckily I had slowed down because it was here I found my one and only Swallow flying briefly overhead. So as in 2010 I find my first on patch Swallow, first for the year as it happens, on 6th April.
I found some interesting nesting activity taking place at the lake, but no more Swallows. The Coot’s nest on the open water has appeared again. The water has dropped a little but not that much so I think the Coot has been busy rebuilding. I decided to get out of the rain and head for home to watch the match.