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Searle’s Farm – 10 May 2011

On a cloudy evening a week before the field trip, three Nightingales and a Cetti’s Warbler were in full song at Searle’s Farm, Burghfield. The sun shone brightly on the evening of Tuesday 10th May when Jan Haseler led the real field trip, and the warblers were not so obliging. Perhaps 5 Nightingales called, but they only gave brief tantalising bursts of song and then fell silent. Only the last bird, as darkness was falling, gave a reasonable performance. The Cetti’s Warbler, too, in thick vegetation by the bank of the River Kennet, gave a single brief burst of song and was then silent. With patience, the group were able to distinguish between the songs of Garden Warblers and Blackcaps and several Reed Warblers were seen as well as heard. Newly arrived Swifts were flying above the gravel pits and a Cuckoo called in the distance. Three large eggs were visible in a Great Crested Grebe’s nest and a Coot’s nest held a fluffy youngster. Two webs on Spindle held the caterpillars of the Spindle Ermine moth. As the light faded, large numbers of Green Carpet moths were in flight above the vegetation next to the Kennet and small bats, probably Pipistrelles, flew above the river.

Pictures by Ray Reedman and Jan Haseler