19 April 2009

Blackcaps at Leam Valley

April 2009 has been far from the cruelest month in Warwickshire - despite the occasional storm it has generally been warm and bright, a welcome respite after the relentless grey of a British winter.

Today has been no exception - to prove the point, I have just come in from pottering around the garden in shorts. Taking advantage of the unseasonable pleasantry, I was out this morning for a spot of birdwatching at Leam Valley.

The changes from my last visit were largely in the type of birdsong. The Great Tits and Song Thrushes that dominate in late winter / early spring have now been replaced by Blackcaps and Wrens, plus the relentless Chiffchaffs.

In fact today was the day of the Blackcap, with five singing males all giving good views, and one shuffling past with a female in tow.

The Blackcaps were the highlight of a generally average trek round the reserve itself, so I headed off down to Offchurch Bury for a bit of variety - and was instantly rewarded with a Green Woodpecker, a male Bullfinch, a cock Yellowhammer, a couple of Skylarks and an unidentified pair of wagtails (I see a fair few greys down there, but this looked to have a shorter tail - perhaps it was the yellow I've looked there for in vain for so long).

Bird of the Day: Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), a common and distinctive warbler with a lovely little song that sounds a little like a hurried and confused Blackbird (to my ears anyway).

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