Friday, 1 August 2014

A new month begins! August can bring a few interesting birds to my patch as they make their way south for the Autumn and with the previous 5 Augusts reaching an average species tally of 73, I'm looking forward to seeing what my turn up  :-)

This morning though was a bit slow, mainly due to the foggy conditions that persisted from 06:00hrs until gone 08:00hrs, I still managed an creditable 45 species for the 5 hour patch visit, plus a TAWNY OWL that was heard outside the front of my house ''kewicking'' at 04:15hrs, the first one i've recorded since May.

Here's what what seen in the order it appeared ;

Leaving my house and walking along Ashes lane was quite productive with, GOLDFINCH, COLLARED DOVE, JACKDAW, PIED WAGTAIL, GREENFINCH, WREN, CHAFFINCH, BLACKBIRD, MAGPIE, JAY, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, SWALLOW, WOODPIGEON, SONGTHRUSH, BLUE TIT, LINNET, BULLFINCH, and GREAT TIT all being seen in the 200 yards to the Greenhouse Grounds, where only WHITETHROAT, GOLDCREST and HOUSE SPARROW were added to the list.

Migrant Alley was shrouded in the worst of the fog, and produced little, just CARRION CROW, ROOK, STARLING, GREEN WOODPECKER and flyovers from HERRING GULL and STOCK DOVE were to be found, a CHIFFCHAFF called from the Wooded Headlands, the 30th species for the month.

I walked the long way around the Small Holding, hoping to find the Spotted Flycatchers that bred in one of the adjacent large Gardens, but failed to see them, however I did hear NUTHATCH and COAL TIT calling there. Moving through the Wet Woods I added GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER to the August tally, then the Lakes added a further 7 species, with MUTE SWAN, CANADA GOOSE, GREYLAG GOOSE, MALLARD, COOT, MOORHEN and GREY HERON being found.

The adjacent Scrubby Woods provided BLACKCAP and TREECREEPER for the months count, as well as the bird of the day for me when at least 6 SAND MARTINS flew low over, calling as they sped E.

I made my way back homewards, crossing the Ashes Lane Fields, and added LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL when a single flew over and also COMMON BUZZARD when 3 where seen soaring over the Greenhouse Grounds.

So, 46 species to kick off the month then, but the challenge is to beat the record August tally of 78 set back in 2010, I think it will be very difficult, when some of the species seen then, no longer breed on my patch, and some of the migrant species seemingly have left already, but it's worth the try!

Not much for the camera early on in the fog, but whilst in the Scrubby Woods I had close approach to this male Southern Hawker Dragonfly  :-)  I took 133 photo's of it, so i'll put some images on tomorrows post too, as the weather looks like its not going to be compatible with photography.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

This morning was dry, warm and sunny for the final patch visit of the month, which proved to be quite a good one.

My early walk around the paddocks and sheep pasture of Migrant Alley not only produced a fly over YELLOW WAGTAIL, but also the first TURTLE DOVE (71) of the month, which flew NE, probably the last one i'll see this year. KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK also flew over, flushing up the STARLING flock, they had decreased in number to only around 40 birds. A small party of SWIFTS moved through, and the daily movement of GREYLAG and CANADA GEESE was again observed.

Greylag Geese

Two female / immature MANDARIN DUCKS were on the main lake today, with a lone MALLARD and a GREY HERON. The ornamental lake only had the regular MUTE SWAN, COOT, MOORHEN and two more Mallard.

In the Scrubby Woods my first LONG TAILED TITS for a week were found, I counted 13 as they flew the gap from one Oak tree to the next, only 3 BLUE TITS were with them though. GOLDCREST and COAL TITS sang, BULLFINCH were seen well in a Hawthorn bush, and along with the BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF, I saw a WHITETHROAT, obviously a migrant bird, as I don't see Whitethroats in the Scrubby Woods outside of the migration seasons. On the walk home I spotted a LITTLE OWL in an Oak tree of a large garden which lies next to the small holding.

The Turtle Dove seen today brings the months species list to a record breaking 71, two species better than the previous best effort for July. Four of those species were new for the 13 year combined July list, taking it to 93, surprisingly only one species behind the August and September combined tallies. The new species were, Mute Swan, Snipe, Red Kite, and the good old Barnacle Goose  :-)

I had a nearly day with the Brown Hawker Dragonfly, .........again, but managed a couple of acceptable shots of the male Southern Hawker   :-)

Southern Hawker

This ROBIN sat nicely in the sunshine, shame it was on barbed wire!