Sunday 26th April 2015.
My day kicked off with a check of the moth box. It was dry at least, though overcast and cool first thing this morning. Last night, my first Garden Carpet of the year was fluttering behind the box, so I quickly grabbed one of the glass containers and photographed it this morning. There were 8 moths present today which included the following:
- 2 Early Grey
- 1 Garden Carpet
- 3 Double-striped Pug
- 1 Light-brown Apple Moth
About an hour later, I grabbed Scruff for a walk and took a drive over to Marlpit Lane, on the edge of West Sussex, to try my luck with the Nightingales. This morning, I was in luck as I found at least three singing males; although they took a while to reveal themselves. I was also in luck when a flyby Tree Pipit flew over and a male Turtle Dove was heard singing deep within the Coppice to the north. Unfortunately, the Dove revealed itself and there was no access to view along the footpath north of the waste ground.
Common Whitethroats are now well established here with at least 10 singing males present. Blackcaps were also abundant with at least six birds seen and both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were seen; the latter included the bird I saw last time that had bits of Chiffchaff in its song! A Green Woodpecker showed occasionally, flying over the scrub and at least two Common Buzzards soared overhead. A Song Thrush was seen flying over and I also found the remains of a Song Thrush egg. Three Bullfinches flew over and headed south, while small flocks of Linnets darted about the brambles.
I took a walk up the Lane, heading north and found a few more Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. Both the UK and Spanish Bluebell were growing along the verges and also a few white ones among the more common blue flowers. Oddly, there were no butterflies on the wing, which was probably due to the northerly wind and overcast skies.
On the way back home, I thought I would drop onto Thorney Island for a walk along the footpath by the Paddocks. In fact, I strolled up to the Little Deeps and back and came across a few nice birds to look at. A male Cuckoo was seen well near the Copse and also perched obligingly on the overhead wires until flying off eastbound over the fields.
Common Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers were holding territories all along the footpath and a couple of Reed Warblers showed well enough in the reedbed by the Little Deeps. A Bearded Tit was heard calling within the reedbed but it didn’t reveal itself, unlike the Reed Buntings, which were much showier. Swallows darted overhead and also showed well perched on the overhead wires. A male Blackcap and Chiffchaff were seen singing along the footpath; a really good area for passing migrants.
Overhead, a Common Buzzard soared past and numerous Med Gulls flew over too from the Sewage Works. I bumped into another birder earlier who told me that he was sure he saw a Turtle Dove in the Copse, but never got a clear view of the bird. I hope they come back here again after a few years absence. I read today that the Hoopoe was seen well again at Crawley this morning. Apparently, it looks as though we were looking in the wrong place yesterday and should have been looking much further along the footpath near the Pig Fields! Bugger! A couple of Roseate Terns were seen this morning off Lepe Country Park and yesterday’s Hudsonian Godwit looks as though it has departed.