We saw three Long-tailed Tits, heard both a Blackcap and a Dunnock singing in the Eastern Rd/wood area, saw a single Swift overheard and also saw or heard Goldfinches, Magpies, Crows, Feral and Wood Pigeons, Ring-necked Parakeets, Starlings, House Sparrows and a single but very vocal Chaffinch - 19 species in all. We haven't paid that much attention to the Chaffinch on this blog partly because, although it's a 'regular', it's not very numerous on Hilly Fields. It's an attractive bird and, nationally, one of our commonest - the RSPB estimates nearly 6 million breeding pairs in the UK. One can usually be found singing around the front of the school building in the trees next to the playground and tennis courts (anyone who came on this year's Dawn Chorus walk will remember the fine view we had of a female Chaffinch singing outside the school) and, like the Chiffchaff, has a song that's very easy to remember - a series of fast descending notes ending in a short trill. This clip gives a fine view of the male Chaffinch (the female is drabber and greener) and a recording of its song:
Meanwhile, in other nature news, the May blossom on the hawthorns has gone along with the white cow parsley and creamy horse chestnut flowers. It's now the turn of the Elder trees and bushes to put on their white floral display along with briar roses in the borders and Pyracantha. All three could be found last week behind the school with the magnificent Pyracantha attracting bees by the busload. Go and see it while it's there!