After a week away I was surprised how much water and how many ducks there were down on the Levels Sunday afternoon – though there was one bird less after a Peregrine zapped one that was far too heavy for it to carry away.  It sat on the field demolishing its prey.

Paula & Angela T joined me and Maya for our morning stroll in warm(ish) sunshine along the Downslink today to see what was about on the levels.  Two areas of water plus one very soggy field held reasonable numbers of wildfowl.  18 Mute Swans, 6 Cormorants, c30 Greylag, c 20 Canada Geese, 6 Coot, 6 Pintail, c120 Teal, c70 Wigeon, c25 Shoveler, 2 Moorhen, c10 Mallard and a single Little Grebe popping up and down.  There were 3 occupied nests at the little heronry, with one vacant.  When the estimated 8 Lapwing took off there were at least twice that number in the air, and about 50 Starlings appeared too.  We heard a couple of brief snatches of Cetti’s Warbler song, heard and saw two or more Chiffchaffs, saw probably 3 Buzzards, and just caught sight of a Sparrowhawk zipping along the hedge.  Wrens were in good voice too.  The warmth had brought out several bumble bees (Bombus terristris, Paula said), there were honeybees around a profusely flowering blackthorn at the Sandy Lane junction, and we saw two Brimstone butterflies – I saw another in the garden when I got home.

Very pleasant indeed!