It was back to reality yesterday as I rolled out of my bed at 4.00 a.m. to do the late breeding survey on my atlas square near Cockerham. My first avian encounter was a Little Owl stood in the middle of the road near Hambleton. I stopped to see if it was okay and it flew off when a van went past.
It was warm even at 4.45 a.m. when I started my two hour timed tetrad visit. It was also one of those misty sunrises where the sun is a golden globe struggling to break through and burn the mist off below.
The habitat in my square is typical pastoral farmland in that it comprises mainly of improved pasture, hedgerows, ditches and small blocks of woodland or copses. Some of the ditches and the marginal vegetation provide some structural diversity to the habitat.
Walking besides the ditch above the sweet smell of Meadowsweet was being wafted along on the warm air. Of course in years gone by Meadowseet was used to scent the floor of cottages.
Birdwise the species I recorded were fairly typical for the area and included 4 Skylarks, a pair of Grey Partridge, Sedge Warbler, 8 Stock Doves, 91 Lapwings, 2 Song Thrushes, 4 Reed Buntings, 3 Linnets, Tree Sparrow, 3 Whitethroats, Grasshopper Warbler, Common Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail.
After I had finished my survey I decided to have a look on the pool and estuary at Conder Green.
On the pool it was fairly quiet other than 13 Lapwings, 3 Wigeons, Little Ringed Plover and 3 Oystercatchers including one with a chick.
Out on the estuary there was a touch of Autumn with 4 adult Dunlin amongst the 80 Redshanks and a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank kept them company along with a Common Sandpiper.
Back home I had quite a good catch in my moth trap and of the moths that I could identify I had Brimstone Moth, 6 Riband Waves, Swallow-tailed Moth, Magpie, Figure of Eighty, 3 Green Pugs, 2 Garden Carpets, 14 Heart and Darts, 3 Flame Shoulders, 8 Common Rustics, Large Yellow Underwing, Common Emerald, Grey Dagger, 20 Marbled Beauty's, 3 Bright-line Brown Eyes, Marbled Minor and Rustic Shoulder-knot.
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