April seems to have flown by, which is exactly what most of the best birds I have seen this month have done. My Lothian yearlist has remained in the doldrums with an accumulated total of only 119 species, which is way off Mike H's 159 species and the combined total of 164 species recorded in the county so far this year on Bubo listing. However, I have had an excellent month bird wise with self-found patch-ticks in both Edinburgh (Osprey, plus second record of Merlin) and Nercwys Mountain (Hobby) as well as a self-found lifer in Highland (White-billed Diver). Plenty of other interesting birds were seen in the Outer Hebrides (divers, waders, raptors, buntings). Even if I did fail to connect with either the big white falcon or the big white owl, I did manage to find a big sandy hawker dragonfly while on North Uist - a Vagrant Emperor - more later.
The Hobby provided an interesting diversion shortly after the royal wedding on Friday as it raced over fairly high on a north easterly bearing. As I haven't managed much birding at my Welsh patch in recent years I decided to ask Peter R about its recent local status when I saw him later in the day. "Ahh... it's funny you should ask", he commented "I just saw one today during the royal wedding." Since Peter's sighting was in the next valley it is highly likely that we saw the same bird!
A quick walk this morning before heading back to Scotland up to the Bryn Alyn SSSI limestone pavement revealed a lovely showing of Early Purple Orchids including the magnificent specimen above.