Last Wednesday (19th), there was a report of a singing Chiffchaff at Linacre on the Sheffield Bird Study Group website, the first of the year. Unfortunately I couldn't get down there until today, but during a 2 hour walk around the site with Jayne, we managed to hear 4 birds and see one of these low down in a willow on the ringing site. This is always the first summer migrant back at Linacre, so it was really nice to hear it's song. What next? Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Swallow?
As well as the Chiffchaffs, most of the usual suspects were also in good voice this morning, including Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Blue and Coal Tit, Great-spotted Woodpecker (drumming), Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrush.
Out on the water we spotted 2 pairs of Great-crested Grebe; 1 each on the middle and top reservoirs, 6 Mandarin Ducks (3 pairs. 1 each for the owl boxes?), 28 Mallards, 12 Tufted Ducks, 2 Cormorants (including the ringed bird), 3 Grey Wagtails, 12 Coots, 4 Moorhens and 1 Little Grebe.
Out in the fields was a small flock of winter thrushes comprising 9 Fieldfares and 2 Redwings. Later on we also spotted a large flock of about 50/60 Starlings flying over the top reservoir, a large female Sparrowhawk, a small group of about 20 Siskins and 4 Lesser Redpolls, so winter's not over yet.