On Monday I left early to visit a local place near Oxted hoping to see a ring ouzel. It was a nice walk but no ring ouzel. This is my bogey bird at the moment.
I then went to Pulborough hoping to see the common crane which had been there for a couple of days. On arrival I raced down to Jupps viewpoint but there was no crane. Twitching is no fun when you miss all the birds!! Shortly after, a man came from the other viewpoint and said the crane had flown at 10.05 and I had arrived at 10.10! Grrrrr!
To compensate, there were two snow geese, a life tick for me after my signal failure to see this bird in Norfolk. When I came back later they were closer to me and promptly mated!! Well, it is Spring.
Although cold, there were sunny intervals and some of the bushes on the reserve were in bloom. This allowed me to spend some time relaxing with the great tits, which were nibbling the buds out of the blossom. They look very nice with a floral background.
I also found a number of blackcaps. I got a nice view of a male, but the females were keeping a low profile, probably building nests and being homely.
This bold chiffchaff was collecting nesting material.....
....and this willow warbler was very actively staking out his territory in song. Magic!
If these two birds look almost identical it's because they are, almost identical. Telling them apart by song is easy. However, other features are the length of the wings and the leg colour. The wings of the chiffchaff are generally shorter. You can see from the pictures above that the wings of the willow warbler extend further back than the chiffchaff. Also, the legs of the chiffchaff are darker than those of a willow warbler.
The crane didn't reappear that afternoon, but I didn't mind after the lovely birds I'd seen.