From the pickup hide we watched Herons squabbling, Cormorants and Egrets fly over and a Common Tern was fishing. I noticed there were no Sand Martins at the bank, I guess they haven't taken up residence there this year?
A Blackcap was singing in the trees and we heard Chiffchaff, a Robin and Chaffinch too. On the dipping pond a Coot family came over, soon losing interest when they realised we had nothing for them.
I was hoping for a Cuckoo today and we headed up to the Coal Tips. Before we even got there we could hear one, it was just in the trees off to the left as the riverbank trail starts. I couldn't get a clear enough view for a decent photo as it was perched high on a tree behind several others!
It was the only one we heard all morning.
On to the tops and it was a little breezy but still nice. We saw quite a few Reed Buntings, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Crows and Jackdaws. A Weasel ran across the path in front of us a one point and I almost stepped on a toad too, my daughter just stopping me in time!
Down towards the river a couple of Red Legged Partridges were wondering about. We started to notice a lot of Swifts at this point and for the rest of the walk around we had some very close encounters with them buzzing around our heads.
I could hear Sedge Warblers in the reeds as we walked around, I didn't manage to spot any though. Down towards the moat we could see lots of Cormorants, Geese and Herons. A Willow Warbler sat singing on the top of a tree on the embankment. A little further along and a Skylark was up in the air.
We spotted a lot of Cardinal Beetles and Ladybirds. I saw my first Brimstone (which didn't stop for a photo!) and Orange-tip butterflies of the year.
I loved these vines
A quick stop for lunch and we were on to St Aidan's...............