A good start to the day as a Grey Partridge wandered through the garden and out towards the nearby fields, this is my second record for the garden this year and I'm hoping they have a successful breeding year. I was concerned they may have been bred for shooting and not wild birds but my understanding is that they are extremely hard to breed in captivity unlike the Red-legged Partridge which is bred for shooting and certainly a common sight in the Chilterns. I also spotted a single Grey Partridge crossing the fields near the convent at Parmoor on Monday.
The resident Little Owl was sat motionless sunning itself it the sun and only moved to the next post to avoid a number of Jackdaws, 2 Red Kites and 2 Buzzards were circling across the fields and a male Sparrowhawk that often visits the garden feeders had made a number of fly throughs, all unsuccessful. 2 Nuthatches and 2 Marsh Tits have been busy visiting the feeders, both presumably pairs.
At lunchtime I was alerted to a Warbler singing outside our cottage and ran outside to listen, I waited with baited breath for it to call again and was delighted to hear a Willow Warbler singing from the adjacent orchard, I grabbed my bins and off I went to investigate. I located the Willow Warbler as it perched up to sing from the very same tree I had found my first garden Chiffchaff of the year on 27th March. I watched it as it searched for insects around the tree tops and then thought I should try to get a photo, by the time I got back with my scope and camera the bird was long gone and I could hear it as it headed along the hedgerow towards Hatchet Wood, Skirmett. I gathered a few bits 'n' bobs and off towards Hatchet Wood I headed, it wasn't long before I could hear the Willow Warbler singing again and located it feeding through the hedgerows, it didn't hang around and I soon reminded myself that trying to get a photo was going to be almost impossible, I decided to leave it to feed and headed off along the path. I had walked a short distance when I heard another singing further along the path and doubled back to check it wasn't the first one I had seen, as I turned to walk along the path it started singing to confirm 2 in the area. I found the second in the tops of a hawthorn chasing the insects round the branches and another a few trees further along, I watched both of them for over 10 minutes as they constantly searched for insects in the afternoon sun, only stopping briefly to sing. The sun had obviously stirred up the insects and the Willow Warblers were taking full advantage to replenish fat reserves to continue their migration. By the end of the afternoon i was pretty confident of at least 4 Willow Warblers being present. 1 Goldcrest seen and another 3 heard in two separate areas, a single Mistle Thrush, 3 Red Kites and 2 Buzzards around Hatchet Wood.
Added to my year list.
126. Willow Warbler.