“Oh, to be in England, now that Spring is here”
So much to see and hear at this time of year, with the migrant birds returning. Birds are changing their plumage, trees bursting out of bud, everything is coming alive.
April was another dry month, with very little rainfall, only a few showers. The water level remained at it’s normal level. The Geese have now brought off their broods and several families are seen walking around the Parkland and Garden.
Canada Geese are having the largest amount of goslings, and Greylags have small families.
A visitor to the lake was a surprise brought in on one of the storms we had in April, and that was a Pinkfoot Goose or Bean Goose – it was here for several days.
Mallard, Gadwall also have a small amount of ducklings hatching off before Easter. The Crested Grebes have nests and are sitting.
April saw the arrival of the Swallows, and House Martins, these arrived back on the 23rd April. The Osprey has also returned with his mate, and has been seen fishing on the Lake. Our small boxes have almost been filled with a variety of birds, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Sparrows, and a Wren. The Blue Tits have a brood and are feeding on a regular basis. Our larger boxes are up for the owls – we have a pair of Barn Owls with two chicks, and a Tawny Owl. The Little Owl lost it’s battle with the Jackdaws and left the box, now four boxes have Jackdaws in them.
The woods are also alive with birds and birdsong, the Green Woodpeckers making the most noise, but Jays, Blackcaps, Chiff-Chaffs are abundant, on the farmland. Skylarks are displaying, and last week a pair of Wheatears were seen.
Sydney and Adelaide, our black swans, have still to build a nest – but it does not seem likely at the moment. The mute swans have three nests around the lakes.
On May 9th the Egyptian Geese had five little goslings!
The Cuckoo – the harbinger of spring (Cuculus canorus)
How can you leave this bird out of our Spring blog? such a lovely country sound to hear it’s call. This year we have been lucky to hear it on the Estate. Not everyone likes the Cuckoo as it is parasitic, laying it’s eggs in a host’s nest. Their egg’s incubation period is twelve and a half days, and when the chick hatches it’s first job is to get rid of the other eggs in the nest, or even chicks. The hen bird watches the nest she is going to lay in for most of the day and then lays her eggs in the afternoon. They use the nest of Dunnocks, Meadow Pipit and Reed Warblers. The bird can often be mistaken for a Kestrel when seen in silhouette.
Adult birds are slate grey above, while underneath is white with a dark grey barring. The immature birds have a brown back, neck and head.
Their diet is mostly insects and caterpillars.
Enjoy the outdoors and birding!