29th April

Well, thanks to what's been an unusually dry month the floods are completely gone now with just a couple of muddy puddles left. It's a great shame because now that the winds have finally shifted away from a northerly direction suddenly the waders are starting to come through the county. The absence of any attractive floods means that we can basically write-off a good dozen or so waders that we might otherwise expect on the year list. The one exception to this is COMMON SANDPIPER which, more than any other species, seems to have a penchant for the river shoreline and indeed Mary MacDougall did find one along there this week so it's good at least to bag that one. We also had a YELLOW WAGTAIL reported by Martin Frend - it's nice to get a definite sighting in addition to my heard-only record from the previous week.

Apart from that it's been all about winkling out the remaining warbler species and keeping an ear open for a Cuckoo. No luck with the latter yet but with the former we're getting there. Whitethroats are well and truly back in Burgess Field and can be heard singing from all areas. REED WARBLERS are back in the Trap Grounds with several singing males in the reed bed. In addition GARDEN WARBLERS have now returned to Burgess Field doing their "Blackcap on acid" songs from deep within the hedgerows. The record that I'm most pleased about though is GRASSHOPPER WARBLER. We didn't record this last year though I suspect that it was still present. The problem is that I can no longer hear their subtle reeling song which makes locating them really difficult. However this evening I did head out with my ten year old son for an evening walk around BF. I played him a recording of it and asked him to listen out for it. For most of the way round there was no luck but finally in the north west corner he said that he could hear it clearly. In fact he was amazed that I couldn't hear it at all, so loud was it to him. Anyway, by virtue of this proxy hearing it's going down on the list. However, if any younger birders who can still hear them want to head out one nice calm evening to Burgess Field to confirm this then it would be much appreciated.

The House Martins are back en masse now and were seen gathering mud for their nests. No sign of the Swifts yet over Jericho though it shouldn't be too much longer now. As I mentioned earlier, there are a few birds still to look out for so here's a list of what we might reasonably expect:

Redpoll, Lesser
Spotted Flycatcher
Tree Pipit
Sedge Warbler - it's amazing how hard it is to get this species on the Meadow
Egyptian Goose
Cetti's Warbler

It's getting a bit late for fly-over Osprey sightings and Lesser Redpoll is more of a winter species but there's a chance with the rest of them.

There are quite a few Common Tern to be seen, mostly along the river now that the floods have dried up

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