The weather continued to lurch between unseasonably warm and unseasonably cold. With temperatures rarely exceeding 12C the latter was true of the first ten days of May. Insect life was extremely limited and late migrant birds were slow to arrive. Numbers of whitethroats continued to increase, however, with every bushy hedge in the fields around Royston seeming to contain one pair. On a long walk on the 6th I recorded a minimum of 27 in the Therfield parish alone! This species clearly had a good breeding season in the hot summer of 2018 and the numbers seen locally this year certainly reflect this situation. Two pairs of tufted ducks were still at Mardleybury pond and I saw my first local house martins (probably passage birds) feeding over Newsells Stud Farm. Swifts were reported over Royston on the 1st but I had to wait until the 9th to see my first local birds.
Tufted Ducks, Mardleybury, 6 May
Skylark, Therfield Heath, 9 May