A beautiful morning on Sunday and an ideal time to do the first Area 8 breeding survey, which takes me from Woods Mill car park up to Oreham Common, then to Sands Farm, Small Dole and back to and around the reserve. Accompanied by Lesley, we recorded 40 species but technically couldn’t count a distant Buzzard as it was way out our recording area! In terms of  breeding birds it was difficult to confirm any actual breeding but you can assess potential breeding territories as by far the majority of birds recorded were by song an indication of possible breeding. The only definite sign of breeding was a group of 22 Starlings which contained a number of newly-fledged juveniles.

Highlights of the walk were hearing five different Nightingales, four of them around Oreham Common and one on the reserve. A Cuckoo called briefly from the back around the reserve. More unusual was seeing a distant Wheatear sitting on the corner of a barn roof. Other migrants were thin on the ground with two Swifts and one Swallow flying over. However, there was a good sprinkling of Warblers, lots of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Reed Warblers with singles of Cetti’s Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat.

Mike Russell, 13th May 2024