Started my patch walk this morning at 9 am and there were still plenty of species singing around the woodland car park. Amongst the sounds of Blackbird, Wren, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Blackcap my ears locked onto a new addition to the year list .. a Garden Warbler, high in the leafy canopy belting out its warble that can so often be confused with a Blackcap.
Mistle Thrush, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Jackdaws were spotted in the horse paddock while a Canada Goose was enjoying a late lie in at the pond. Moorhen, Coot and Mallard were also logged but no sign today of any Mandarin Ducks.
The Grey Heron was on its usual perch eying up a tasty morsel in the water below.
Heading out around the Great Pond I found another Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, plenty of Common Whitethroats, Long-tailed Tits still carrying nesting material (I thought they were early nesters?), male Reed Bunting calling from the waterside willows plus lots of Orange-tips and Brimstone on the wing. From here I entered the main woodland to find some shade while listening to Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Suddenly everything went quiet and I'm still not sure what prompted me to look skywards through a small gap in the leafy canopy but the size, shape, pale underparts and barring immediately triggered a certain species name in my brain. No time for a picture ... just get the bins up and confirm the supposition. This very chunky Accipiter slowly glided overhead, turning its head and allowed me to see the distinctive head markings plus the yellow base to the bill and its red eye glinted in the sunlight as it skimmed the tree tops. Yes ... an adult male GOSHAWK.
Tonight I located some illustrations from a recent birding publication that clearly show both the bulky view I saw (see above) and its similarity with a female Sparrowhawk (see below) with which this species is so often confused.
Blue Tit sunbathing.
Back out across the grassland heath I listened to a single Willow Warbler but no sign or sound of any Lesser Whitethroats yet. Interestingly the numbers of singing Willows appear to have dropped considerably in the last week so maybe a few have moved on. Another addition the patch year list were Linnets.
About an hour after I returned home another 'mega' flew in via UPS from Texas, USA.