Tuesday 26 May 2020

Nightingale is on the list

Lockdown prevented me making my annual trip to the valley as the Nightingales arrive and you'll all know they're a little easier to hear and find as new arrivals but with the new slight relaxation I've been walking the valley a couple of times a week but until yesterday hadn't a sniff of Nightingale. All that changed as I stood looking for a Garden Warbler I could hear then up popped a Nightingale and remarkably it gave a little burst of song too to make my morning.

I heard Cuckoo again too and bumped into a few Great Crested Grebes carrying chicks along the river. In fact the place is alive with young birds and lockdown doesn't seem to have done them any harm at all.

Year list now 200. Respextable start considering what we've been going through.
Still no Wheatear, Whinchat or Willow Warbler, still no Hobby and this list of missed returning migrants isn't extensive by any stretch.

Great Crested Grebes

Thursday 21 May 2020

Local fox encounter

I see Foxes in my garden most days but this morning on my way to the valley I saw a family and pulled over to watch for a while. The parents protected the cubs and marched them back into the hedges out of site but were then happy to sit out and soak up some early morning sunshine and give me the chance to fire off a few images.

Vulpes vulpes: another tautonym where the generic and species name are the same.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

At last a walk with the Jims

This morning I arranged to meet the Jims at Lee Valley for a socially distant walk. Those that know us will know we're usually out as a threesome two or three times a week so it's been difficult not seeing each other since 9th March. With the recent small relaxation of the lockdown terms we are now able to meet outside as long as we stay a couple of metres apart so we had a good walk around seventy acre lake today. I found a Garden Warbler for them and we walked around the lake to get them Reed Warbler for a year tick. We all managed brief views of a Lesser Whitethroat but failed again to find any Nightingales, Hobby or Willow Warblers.

The year list nudged up to 199 despite the ten weeks I've had in lockdown.

I did find a Great Crested Grebe carrying three chicks and managed to grab a few shots.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Back in the game

So the government announced last weekend that we would be permitted to get in the car and spend as long as we wanted outdoors provided we continue to social distance so my Lockdown list is over and finished at at reasonable 56 when I added Swift last week but I couldn't wait to get back out and try to catch up with some of the other spring migrants.

The Canada Geese have enjoyed having the place to themselves.
I waited my time having complied with the lockdown and having started two weeks earlier than most due to my father in laws positive test I wasn't going to jump the gun so to speak but at the crack of dawn on Wednesday I was walking the Lee Valley which is only a ten minute drive from home but not within my walking exercise route so I'd missed it over the last few weeks.
I had binoculars with me for the first time in weeks and even popped the camera over my shoulder to shake the cobwebs from it.

First I saw a couple of Common Terns as I approached the construction site for the new Bittern Hide, numbers are low with just the two birds seen on Seventy Acre and three on Holyfield Lake but a welcome year tick none the less.

Whitethroats are now calling from almost every bush but despite being on site at first light I heard no Nightingales but did hear plenty of noise from the Cuckoos. As I walked further I heard my first Garden Warbler of the year and then my first Sedge Warbler parachuted up before returning to sing from his chosen bush. From the reeds Reed Warblers called and a couple showed well too.

From Holyfield Lake I saw a couple of Swallows, hundreds of Swift and several of both House and Sand Martins hawking the main lake but failed to find an Hobby.

So I have kicked started the year list again and it's a strange looking list for the middle of May with no  Wheatear, Whinchat, or Willow Warbler along with several migrants that I'll now have to look for on the way out in the autumn provided we're still permitted of course.

The walk was a much welcome relief for me and I really appreciated just standing and listening to all the noise this morning....no people just birds and it was just wonderful!

Sad sign of the times
Year list now 198

Wednesday 6 May 2020

At last another year tick

A cracking day weather wise and with a garden DIY project underway I spent the whole day in garden lockdown. A sprawk, a Buzzard and Red Kite also enjoyed the heat but it wasn't until late afternoon that I got my best of the day when a single Swift was seen for the first time this year.
That's my second lockdown year tick in six weeks and my 56th lockdown bird sighting.

I hope that the weekends government review will allow us a little freedom and I can finally head to the coast for some birding again but until then...stay safe!

Lockdown list now 56
Year list now 192