30th April, it is so cold I can hardly believe that it’s May tomorrow. The Bluebells are out but the chilly north wind sends the blossom falling like snow. A Swallow sits hunched up on the wires on East Street, not an insect to be seen.
26th April, off to work via Foxhill Road, and half way up, on a concrete post sits a cracking male Whinchat. A beautifully plumaged passage migrant in from Africa, it’s on its way to Northern climes to breed but drops in to Buckby to make my day. As I cruise past it flicks off onto the yellow heads of the rape. I go to work and then come back an hour later with fingers crossed. It’s still there, and I get great views. A while later and another migrant pops up. A Wheatear. Funny how all month I’ve been looking for passage migrants without success, and as I was beginning to give up hope… …mmm…Male Whinchat. Let me see…late summer records, yes one a year maybe…but the last spring record was? Well there isn’t one I can find!
25th April, 4 House Martins and a Red Kite over the village. The Cuckoo-flowers are up at the Park, and I kneel on the wet sod for a photo’.
22nd April, Red Kite, a female Sparrowhawk and several Buzzard are seen. A Jay reported and also a drumming Woodpecker.
21st April, Opening Cotton End Park and the car park is full of song. A newly arrived Garden Warbler is one of 5 Warbler species singing. I also see a pair of Greenfinch. I then venture down Lodge Lane and onto the Brington Road. I see a male Roe Deer, a pair of Red-legged Partridge, another Greenfinch, hear 3 Lesser Whitethroats, and find 4 Hares together having a bit of a boxing match.
20th April, a sixth sense is a handy attribute and for no real reason I look up and then see 5 Lapwing go over. One of them is full of the joys of spring, and tumbles, dives and flips over in a brief display flight. They have a bit of a look at the bare fields below but continue on. I am out again looking for migrants but I can tell it’s getting a bit late because all I see is a fly-by Tawny Owl, and a few Bats.
18th April, Terry reports Orange-tip and Holly Blue. I am at Evans’ Pond and I hear a Kingfisher, see a pair of Tufted Duck. They are hiding from the pesky Canada Geese. Common Whitethroat pops up and Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff sing. A sudden movement in the grass. A Stoat – long time no see. At CEP I feed the sheep and hear an unfamiliar call. I look up to see 2 birds sparing, in fact 2 Peregrines, both males have a brief scrap then both depart in opposite directions. One comes my way and lands on the Pylon in the sheep paddock. Amazingly I have a camera and get a shot as it sits there panting. Two male Peregrines fighting? Is that a territorial boundary clash? Is there a female watching somewhere?
17th April, an Orange-tip goes past at full speed, and Billy sees a Peacock. The Church Warden reports that he and the Vicar were clearing up inside the St Lawrences’ and they came across a ‘snake’. By the description I think it was a Slow Worm. Thankfully they are both sensible chaps and release the interloper to the bottom of the graveyard.
16th April, I am half a mile away from CEP in a game covert in fields towards West Haddon. I hear a bird singing that reminds me of a bird I had 2 years ago at this time at the Park. This time I have got a decent ‘phone and I video record the song and try to study the bird. It is a Chiffchaff, and the song and plumage suggest a Siberian Chiffchaff. I do not have a camera with me.
15th April, I’m ambling down Lodge Lane before 7 and hear the first Lesser Whitethroat, 2 each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, and a dozen Fieldfare are seen. 2 Hares and a flyover Meadow Pipit add to the list. Armley field still has a flock of about 20 Linnets, and Lee reports Slow Worm. CEP hosts my first Willow Warbler, and has a handful of Fungi which are loving this wetness. Baby Blackbird reported.
14th April, Dean and Jane report Butterbur from the footpath near Vanderplanks Covert, and Tufted Duck from the Ponds. Hanglands NR has a Grass Snake, 2 immature Toads, and a Common Shrew under the old roofing tins. Bee-fly, Comma, Brimstone, Small Tort’ and Peacock are about, and a Hare is flushed. Evans’ Pond has spawning Toads, about 10 males are wrestling 1 female, and the egg ribbons are just visible. 2 swallows reported.
13th April, Richard sees a Swallow on Brington Road, Angela sees two large long-legged birds go over that we assume were Grey Herons (I hope they weren’t Cranes!). John reports 2 Little Egrets from near The Wharf. After a couple of weeks of mainly queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees I start to see a few Red-tailed Bumblebees.
8th April, Blackcaps arrive and are singing at Heath View, CEP, Mill Park and Lodge Lane. The latter still has 6+ Fieldfares, and 3 Greylag Geese go over.
7th April, a Swallow over Oak Tree Farm, Bill reports a female Blackcap from Grove Farm Close, Alan a nest of well grown Robin chicks at The Wharf, and Sue a pair of well-marked Redpoll from her garden on Lakeside.
6th April, spring-like and a Chiffchaff is singing at CEP, and the Willow catkins are alive with Bumblebees.
4th April, Lodge lane has 2 Fieldfares and a Mistle Thrush with the Blackbirds on the excellent sheep paddocks there, and Denise at Bridge House Farm reports Little Egret from their lake.
1st April, flood water abounds and during the morning my wife sees an odd mammal surface for a few seconds in the flooded field of Foxhill Road. She gets a photo…