Donna Nook/Pyes Hall 27/3/10

A chilly, moderate westerly with sunny intervals today. Star bird was a female Bullfinch that flew over me calling and landed in a hawthorn bush immediately north of the car park. Bullfinches are very scarce birds in the Donna Nook area and I can back that up because this was my 1st ever for the patch! 5 Chiffchaffs were the only spring migrants I came across today. Peregrine also seen and a confiding Twite in exactly the same spot I had seen two on 23/3. A Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell were my first butterflies of the year. Just to add a fellow birder saw a male Hen Harrier in the area earlier in the day and this is likely to be the wintering male, which will no doubt be leaving for its breeding quarters anyday now - fingers crossed he has a successful breeding season.

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall & Covenham Res 23/3/10

4 White Wagtails together was my highest ever single count for this species. Also seen: Peregrine, 2 Merlin, 2 Wheatear, Chiffchaff & 2 Twite.
A brief visit on the way home to Covenham Reservoir produced drake Red-crested Pochard & a 2nd Peregrine for the day.

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall

Plenty of sun today with a moderate SW wind. Star billing has to go to the adult Common Crane which I picked up over Saltfleet Haven and then watched for at least 10mins as it drifted slowly towards me heading north along the coast - only my 2nd for Donna Nook. A Common Buzzard soaring high and then drifting over the beach at the southern end of the reserve was almost certainly a migrant on the move. 2 Peregrine, 3 Merlin (inc one in off) & a Barn Owl were the other birds of prey seen. 2 Chiffchaffs were my first of the spring. Also good numbers of Linnets noted heading N.

Vis mig on the patch 20/03/10

In between the rain I caught up with my first spring migrants of the year. 2 Sand Martins were heading the wrong way - south, a flighty Wheatear noted and a soaring Marsh Harrier thought about heading out over the sea but then turned back and headed inland. 2 male Stonechats were further evidence of spring migration on the reserve. Also seen: Barn Owl, Merlin & a Peregrine sat on top of one of the trees at Pyes.

March is one of the best times to catch up with this attractive chat in Lincs as birds pass through on their way to the breeding grounds

I think I might've spotted a problem with the Armed Forces latest choice of transportation

Pyes Hall as darkness engulfed the area. The wind got up and then the inevitable rain hit.

The silhouette of a Peregrine on watch at Pyes Hall as the darkness set in

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall

Spent the afternoon on the patch with a cold NW blowing. Not surprisingly, there were no spring migrants but raptors were well represented. Highlights from the afternoon were: Hen Harrier (a male that continues to winter here), 2 Common Buzzard, Peregrine, 2 Merlin & 6 Little Egret. The Goldfinch flock at Pyes appears to have made it through the winter - 8 birds there today. Watched one of the Merlins following the harrier and attempting to catch passerines that the harrier flushed - a sight I have seen before, but a sight that shows how clever the UK's smallest raptor is.

Winter & spring collide

Apart from first thing this morning, the day was dull with a cold northerly wind increasing through the afternoon, hardly a day to be looking for adders - the UK's only poisonous snake. However, I was very surprised to find 2 individuals above ground at one of only a few reliable sites for this reptile in Lincs - a reptile that is sadly declining within the county.
Birds seen today were: Common Buzzard, 2 Egyptian Geese, 15 Common Crossbill, 12 Siskin, 6 Redpoll & 5 Green Woodpecker.

The good news was that the cold temperatures meant the Adders were very sluggish and quite approachable. The bad news? - dull light was always going to hinder photography

When an Adder is coiled up, it's hard to appreciate how long they are - this shot give's a more accurate reflection (click pic to enlarge)

Snowdrops are very conspicious at this time of year