Had a long weekend again, starting Thursday. Turned out to be a quiet one, without any major trip.
Did a bit of work in the garden Thursday and Friday. The only interesting item is that we seem to have a Greenfinch singing outside. Apart from a juvenile visiting a couple of summers back, it has been a long time since Greenfinch was a regular in the garden (it used to be a common bird until the big Ash trees died and were cut down). Heard it a few mornings in a row so hopefully it will stick around. House Sparrows are also vocal at the moment. Certainly present in the old holly hedge outside, and another colony in the next street they have yet to come into the feeders. Guess they will do what they du=id last year and come in with the young later in summer.
Saturday morning was spent at Amwell. Small numbers of Sand Martins had been coming in locally, with a few other early migrants so I hoped to connect with some. Unfortunately the weather was not co-operative, being cool with a strong westerly wind. I spent the morning chatting to Simon, and later on Barry and Mike. Apart from the pair of Redshank, the lone male Wigeon and decent numbers of (presumed) nesting Herons and Egrets there was not much happening. A walk around Hollycross and the wood produced a couple of singing Chiffchaffs.
Sunday would have been a trip, but though there were a few birds around, it was much the same as previous weeks and neither Colin or I could summon up the enthusiasm for a long expensive journey. So I decided to have a morning walk around Aston End and the Beane. No sign of any Bullfinch or Little Owl-have yet to find the resident birds this year, though Yellowhammers are more noticeable now with several territories located.
At least seven Buzzards were seen over High Wood, one Meadow Pipit flew over and 21 Redwings were seen heading north along the river (still flowing with a decent amount of water). One Blackcap was heard near the paddocks and there were three or maybe four Chiffchaffs singing. Rather cold and windy for the Skylarks though a few were singing.
Simon mentioned yesterday that the Blackthorn was flowering rather earlier than usual. Had not noticed at the time-I assumed that the white blossom had been early flowering cherries, but a lot of the bushes along the Beane were in full flower. However many others were still in tight bud, and sun/shade seemed to have little to do with it. The same seemed to be the case with some of the willows.
Today I had an extended lunch break and spent half an hour at Norton trying and failing to find the two Wheatear reported earlier. It was a nice sunny day, but rather cold and windy. I met a guy who had seen them much earlier, and they had either moved off or were seeking shelter. I did notice that the grass/sedge clumps were much larger than usual, presumably due to the milder winter by so there was a lot of places for birds to hide. Two Grey Partridge were the only birds of note.