I went for a walk this morning around Aston End and up the river Beane. The weather did not look all that great for insects, being cool and cloudy, but in view of my last visit I took a longer lens. Some parts of the country seem to be full of migrants-Winchats, Wheatear, Spot Flys, Tree Pipits and so on so I was hoping to find a decent bird or two.
The first stretch, from the conifer plantation to Aston End did not produce a great deal, a calling Coal Tit, a few Chiffs and crests and a calling Nuthatch. A flock of Swallows over the village seemed to be mainly juveniles, and a Sparrowhawk went over-not seen any here for a while.
The fields were largely empty as I crossed the ford and walked up to the Walkern road, no larks pipits or buntings, only a few distant corvids. Even though the sun was breaking through and warming up, there were no butterflies either. I came across another Nuthatch as I walked down to the river and by the time I got to the paddocks there were a few birds popping up. Most were Robins and Chiffchaffs, with one or two Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler was trying to sing and a big female Sparrowhawk was flushed from a tree. No sign of any migrant chats, Whitethroats and I think I can safely say the Little Owls are no longer in the area, unfortunately. A high flock of large gulls was not the usual Lesser Black Backs but a party of nine Herring Gulls-not something I see all that often here.
On the way up to Chells Manor I picked up a few butterflies, mainly Large, Small and Green Veined Whites, a Holly Blue, a Peacock and a Speckled Wood. A Bullfinch and a Blackcap helped boost the small bird list.