Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Another new month begins and with it another challenge, i'll be chasing the total of 77 species, which is the record October species tally, set in 2010.

The weather was near identical to yesterday, the cloud came and went, giving a few drizzly showers around 10:00hrs.

I couldn't identify the geese that flew over as I left home, it was too dark and only their silhouetted rear ends were seen! I went on to see 48 species during the full patch walk, a good start to the month. On the new months list, in order of appearance were, ROBIN, CHIFFCHAFF, JACKDAW, CARRION CROW, WOODPIGEON, BLACKBIRD and MAGPIE that were seen or heard as I walked along Ashes Lane to get to the Greenhouse Grounds, here, I added PIED WAGTAIL, STARLING, BLUE TIT, WREN, DUNNOCK, and GREAT TIT.

A circuit of Migrant Alley was made, taking in the Greenhouse Copse and the Wooded Headland, this added some good species to the October list. A BLACK HEADED GULL flew over, as did a GREY WAGTAIL, as usual it dropped down into the Greenhouse Grounds, I hoped one would stay around for the October list  :-)  MEADOW PIPITS were still in the sheep pasture by the scores, and 3 GREEN WOODPECKERS were seen on various fence posts. A trio of HOUSE SPARROWS flew over, unusual to see them moving about my patch, better for the months list though was the YELLOW WAGTAIL that flew over, and better still, one of the STONECHATS was still here, a real bonus bird, although its a bit worrying where the other one was, hopefully it decided to move on and wasn't predated by the Sparrowhawk! SKYLARK was added to the months list, as were ROOK and LINNET before I entered the Pub Field, where PHEASANT, CHAFFINCH, STOCK DOVE and HERRING GULL were found.

Walking through the adjacent Ashes lane Field only two species were added to the October tally, the JAY, which could be expected and a flyover REED BUNTING which is another of those difficult species to find here  ;-) The Wet Woods, provided me with TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, and GOLDCREST, while the Scrubby Woods added, LONG TAILED TIT, BULLFINCH, GOLDFINCH, SONGTHRUSH and a very low flyover from a BUZZARD. The nearby lakes added the usual MUTE SWAN, MALLARD, COOT and MOORHEN to the months list, but nothing more.

The final piece of habitat I visited was the Small Holding, here, the only species not to be seen elsewhere on the walk was a COLLARED DOVE, the hoped for Little owls didn't show up today.

The visit was finished with a sky watch, which was interrupted by a wetting, drizzly shower, the only species added to the October list were SPARROWHAWK, the KESTREL pair, a CORMORANT and HOUSE MARTIN, of which 20-30 flew over. The last species to be found today was the GREENFINCH, four were seen feeding at my garden feeders when I got home  :-)

I made another visit to Migrant Alley this afternoon, primarily to try and get some images of the Stonechat, I did get a few, but it was a real challenge trying to get close enough! The hoped for Swallow wasn't seen whilst I was there though.

Stonechat - top bird for my patch :-)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The cloud came and went during the last patch visit of the month, when some drizzly showers fell mid morning, but when the sun did come out it felt very warm  :-)

With this months species tally on 78, the joint best September tally of the 13 years of recording on my patch, my aim this morning was to try to find just one more new species, the most likely of those would be a Yellowhammer, they used to be on every months list!

I made a four and a half hour full patch walk and recorded 48 species, but alas, the Yellowhammer was not among them, nor was there any other new species to add to the month, so close, but no cigar!

Of the summer species recorded today, just 1 SWALLOW, 4 CHIFFCHAFF and a flock of 20+ HOUSE MARTINS were seen, hopefully some of these will stay around for next months list. The MEADOW PIPIT flock at Migrant Alley had reduced in size, 20-30 were present today, 12 LINNETS and around 50 STARLINGS were also on the sheep pasture and paddocks there.

A LITTLE OWL was heard to call from a large garden next to the Ashes Lane Field, where a flock of LONG TAILED TITS moved along the hedgerow bordering the Pub Field, 2 of todays Chiffchaff being among them.

The Wet Woods, Scrubby Woods and lakes provided most of the species seen today, the best of those being GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS, JAY, STOCK DOVE, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, MISTLETHRUSH, SONGTHRUSH, Chifchaff and KINGFISHER.

I arrived at Migrant Alley for my end of visit sky watch, but before taking my seat I scanned the fence lines and hedgerows, where I was elated to find a pair of STONECHATS! They weren't there earlier! Having this species take this Septembers list to an all time high would have been just perfect, they are so seldom seen here, but i'd already seen the one on the 22nd  :-)

My sky watch had a few bits and pieces to be enjoyed, with the already mentioned Swallow and House Matrins, I saw a few SKYLARKS flying SW, a GREY WAGTAIL flyover and alight in the Greenhouse Grounds, as has at least one done all month, three gull species were seen, BLACK HEADED, LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULL, while a single BUZZARD and a single KESTREL represented the raptors today.

The male of the Stonechat pair at Migrant alley today. It would great to have them stay for the October list!

Not much else for the camera out on my patch today though, but yet again this afternoon a SPARROWHAWK gave me good views in my garden, so I just had to take another few images!

Here's a close up of the businesses end !