Sunday 12th May

I've not posted for almost a week on here, sadly this is because there's been precious little to report. The floods had been perilously close to drying up but fortunately the rather unsettled weather has perked them up a bit. At one stage we were down to a narrow pool running from the Aristotle Lane entrance up to the Burgess Field gate but now at least part of the North Channel and some of the South Channel have been restored. In terms of birds, the highlight has been a couple of BLACK-TAILED GODWITS which arrived on Friday and have stayed until this morning at least. There have been the odd LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and RINGED PLOVER about as well, indeed today there were three of the latter accompanied by a flock of four DUNLIN looking very smart with their black bellies in their full summer plumage. Along the Castle Mill stream there have been a couple of COMMON SANDPIPER sightings and I had the fortune to come across a MARSH TIT there as well. This species is rare on the Patch, usually only seen in Wolvercote in the winter and I've only ever once before seen one on the Patch myself. There have been a few reports of a calling male CUCKOO over the last week from Adrian Gray and Cherry Robinson and this morning I was fortunately enough to hear it calling away repeatedly from both sides of Burgess Field as well as within it. It's possible that it might stick around which would be great news - there have only been passage reports of this species since I've been working the Patch. The warblers seem much more settled in Burgess Field now with several Garden Warbler territories and countless Whitethroats. There seems to be remarkably few Sedge Warblers though: in fact this morning I didn't hear a single one and I remember that last year was poor for this species as well. I know that it's not ideal habitat for them but I recall in past years, good numbers of them staking out the bramble patches territory from which they would perform their excitable songs. Other snippets from this morning included a Kingfisher by the boats and an unusual sighting of Roe Deer out in the open by the boats first thing this morning.

Whilst the unsettled weather has rather stopped my garden mothing efforts in their tracks I did notice a couple of Common Heath moths out in Burgess Field. I've not seen any butterflies of note there yet apart from the usual Peacocks and Whites etc.

With the unsettled weather set to continue for much of this week the flood levels should be safe for a while at least. It shouldn't be too long now before the Wood Sandpipers start going through and I'm still hoping for something like a Temminck's Stint or a Spoonbill despite the rather shabby looking state of the floods.

It shoulds how poor things are that a couple of Godwits should be the highlight of the week -
in May no less! Nevertheless, I'm thankful that we've still got some floods to attract some 
waders in at all.

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