Lucy Starling reports on Tuesday 18 April: Today, I heard and saw my first Willow Warbler in the garden (first heard one up at Prior Park Gardens on Friday 9 April). I thought it a good sign, so decided to wander along to the wet ditch in the field beyond Grosvenor Bridge to find out if a Sedge Warbler might have turned up also. Good call – I heard him before I saw him, as I did last year (10th April 2020) – he was slowly getting into his stride in terms of singing.

I stood and viewed him on the newly erected walkway at the end of the ditch (by-pass end). Lots of mimicry in his song – Yellow Wagtail, Swallow, Blue Tit and Great Tit alarm calls.

And, an unexpected bonus – a male Reed Bunting! Never saw him last year.

The ditch is good habitat for nesting – lots of cover from dense vegetation including bramble. Likely Dunnock nesting in the ditch. During short visit, saw and heard pair of Mistle Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Song Thrush. Blackcaps and Chiffchaff singing but no Willow Warblers. Treecreeper singing in trees above sloping path leading down to Grosvenor Bridge off the towpath (has been for some weeks now) and Greenfinch in full song nearby. Excellent 45 minutes birding from home.

2pm, seen from a private garden bordering Bathampton Woods, a singing male Firecrest.