Thursday 21st May

We've finally managed to garner another Patch year tick when Steve Goddard found a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in the copse in the south east corner of Burgess Field at around 8 pm this evening. This species is less than annual on the Patch and doesn't usually stay long so it was most fortuitous that Steve happened upon it when he did. I hurried down to try and see it but we couldn't find it again though it was getting rather late by then so there's an outside chance that it's still around.

No photos of the Flycatcher so here's a Swallow

The floods are nearly gone now and there's been virtually nothing of note on them of late. What with the June and July birding doldrums now nearly upon us anyway, readers should expect increasing blogging about flowers, butterflies, moths and Odonata over the coming months. By way of a taster, here are some photos.

This tiny white flower is a Cornsalad species of some kind
- they can only easily be told apart by the fruits
I found this Drinker Moth caterpillar in Burgess Field recently

Tuesday 19th May

It's a sad indictment of the state of the floods that my last update was more than a week ago. Whilst there has been enough rain to avoid them drying up total, they are a pretty sorry sight and the birds are shunning them. Even the Egyptian Geese have given up on them with just a few Black-headed Gulls the only birds to be seen. The OYSTERCATCHER has been around occasionally, there were a couple of SHELDUCK one day this week and the odd COMMON TERN has been seen but that's been about it.

Because of this, I've been paying closer attention to the Trap Grounds reedbed in the vain hope of finding something interesting there though so far it's just been the usual Reed Warblers. There are at least three singing males within the reedbed: when one starts singing the others soon join it so it's relatively straight-forward to work out how many there are. There was a smart male Reed Bunting there as well today and I saw a SPARROWHAWK flying around nearby the other day.

Burgess Field still has all the usual warblers. Fortunately the LESSER WHITETHROAT decided that it liked it because it's set up territory there. Let's hope that he is successful in finding a mate. Today there was a Kestrel hunting over the nature reserve, the first I've seen there for a while.

With no birds to photograph, flowers are going to play a more prominent feature
on the blog over the coming months. Here's a nice colony of Field Pansy that I
found in Burgess Field.
..and this is the flower of the biblically named Abraham-Isaac-Jacob,
taken in the Trap Grounds a couple of weeks ago
Sadly, the mothing has been pretty terrible so far with the cold, clear nights making for very poor catches.

This Figure of Eighty is co called because of the white markings on the wing

Monday 11th May

It was all very May-ish this afternoon when I went to visit Burgess Field. As I said yesterday, the May Flower is out and smelling nice and there are flowers everywhere. I finally managed to find a LESSER WHITETHROAT when I came across a male singing away deep within the hedges. He must quite like it there because he hung around at least long enough for other people to come and see him as well. Let's hope that he stays and sets up home here. Talking of which, it appears that we have two singing male SEDGE WARBLERS on the Patch now, a real turn up after the last couple of lean years. 

Today the floods held just a single EGYPTIAN GOOSE (I think that there are two pairs and this one odd one left over), the usual 2 COMMON TERNS, 1 OYSTERCATCHER and 2 bonus SHELDUCK for a change.

I found a patch of Greater Celandine in Burgess Field this afternoon.
Despite it's name, it's in a different plant family from it's Lesser namesake.

Sunday 10th May

Another week has slipped by with little to report. The regular rain this week has meant that the floods are still with us though still looking rather poor given the amount of churned up mud that surrounds them. Still you never know when a tired wader might stop off there for a while. In past years we've had Little Stints and even a Pectoral Sandpiper stop in in such conditions. Sadly, all there was this week was the usual four or so EGYPTIAN GEESE, a single OYSTERCATCHER and the occasional COMMON TERN. The Swifts are definitely "in" now with three or four already careering about the skies over my house. So that's it on the migrant front unless we're lucky enough to have a Spotted Flycatcher (one of the latest migrants) stop in.

With no bird photos on offer, here's a Ringed Plover that I took a couple of weeks back

The usual Warblers are now settled in nicely in Burgess Field and are busy getting on with breeding. There's still not been a Lesser Whitethroat sighting though we do seem to have a singing SEDGE WARBLER in the Trap Ground reedbed now, which is good news.

This Nut-tree Tussock was probably the pick of last month's Moths

The rather unsettled nights have meant that mothing has so far really to kick off with very low catches. Similarly butterflies have been a bit hit and miss though I've had Holly Blues back in my garden as well as the usual Whites. We should start to get the grassland specialities of Ringlet and Marbled White in Burgess Field before too long now.

Cuckoo Flower
On the flower front the Cuckoo Flower has been out for some time and the Cow Parsley is coming out. Of course the May Flower (Hawthorn) is coming into bloom now so we can start to cast our clouts! May is such a beautiful month and the rain has meant that all the flowers and grass have a wonderful healthy green flush to them. It's a lovely time of year!

Saturday 2nd May

You can tell from the sudden lack of posts that it's all gone a bit pear-shaped on the Meadow. Sadly the continued warm dry weather has wrecked havoc on the floods which are now little more than two shallow ponds surrounded by a large area of churned up mud. Hardly the habitat we need to attract in some passing waders and this has been born out by the sightings which have consisted merely of up to 5 EGYPTIAN GEESE (two more having arrived mid week), 2 COMMON TERNS and a single OYSTERCATCHER. The only other news is of a SPARROWHAWK seen soaring over the Spinney area mid week. We are forecast some more rain this coming week though sadly I think it's far too late to make any real difference now.

The usual Warblers are still around in Burgess Field of course though as yet there have been no reports of any Lesser Whitethroats, which we still need to complete the Warbler set. Fledgling birds are now starting to appear: there was a Robin fledgling in our garden today, sadly killed by one of the local cats and I came across a very sweet family of young Long-tailed Tits over in the Trap Grounds.

Three of the five Egyptian Geese