Sunday, 28 June 2009

This is what greeted me this morning at 05:30 as I left for my patch walk- FOG!
I had 6 hours this morning, more than enough time to find those 4 species needed to beat the record for June - if they were out there, but the fog was so dense, it was difficult to record anything! One of the first birds on the list was a bit of a surprise, a CUCKOO, it was heard calling from over at the lake area, probably the latest I've heard one calling on my patch. As I made my way round Migrant alley and the college grounds, I was getting soaked by the knee high grass, and vegetation, and to rub it in I was only recording the usual suspects. I managed to find my first newly fledged SWALLOWS at the college equine centre though, they were huddled up on a telephone line.

As I walked back home for a halftime drink, I passed this SPAROWHAWK on the Greenhouses. I thought it was holding prey, and hiding it with it's wings, as they do, but saw that it was actually airing it's wings in the cool air.

The second half of my walk was done in equally foggy conditions, and the day list was on just 37! I did quickly add LONG TAILED and COAL TIT through the wet woods though, and the CANADA GEESE took me to the 40 mark, this was worse than yesterday! A JAY screeched from the wet woods as I left to enter the Tree Nursery, where a PHEASANT flew up, and a MISTLE THRUSH started to sing from the top of an Oak.
It was now 09:30 and only now had the fog began to disperse, so I went over to Migrant Alley for a Skywatching session, I could noe see the SWIFTS and HOUSE MARTINS that I had only heard earlier, and a YELLOWHAMMER went over, calling as it did so. As the sun came through, it got very warm and humid, but I carried on, and was rewarded with HERRING, and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, as well as 5 BLACK HEADED GULLS all going west, a little while later the KESTREL revealed itself, and started its usual routine, of upsetting the Swallows and PIED WAGAILS round the Greenhouse area. I picked up a white flash of a bird from behind the tree line, just off my patch, and was pleased to add MUTE SWAN to the list as it came over. Hooray! This species is new for the month! They are scarce on my patch, in fact this is the first one i've ever recorded in June, and the first seen on my patch since a group of 5 flew over back on March 14th! Maybe too little too late for the june record though, still 3 more species needed! The last bird on the day list was a welcome sighting of a LAPWING, fittingly number 50, a decent enough result for the day.

Below is a male HOUSE SPARROW, anticipating a bit of sun.
This BLACKBIRD was on the telephone line as I neared home
Below is a Comma Butterfly, seen in the hedgerow behind my skwatching seat.


Anonymous said...

It was foggy. The hawks wings get soaked and they become extra heavy and it is almost impossible for them to fly. So they raise out their wings and tail feathers sometimes to help the moisture evaporate.

I have had hawks do the same thing here but only when it is foggy. There must be something about the fog that gets in their feathers easier than rain.

I saw and heard a single chickadee this morning about two hours ago. It ate and then left, or I have not seen it since. That is the first of a whole group of birds that failed to return this year.

Monika said...

Amazing to get 50 species in the fog! Congrats on the mute swan. Just how big is your patch?

Steve said...

Great effort in the fog Warren. Some excellent photos as well. The Sparrowhawk I like!

Warren Baker said...

My patch is roughly a little bigger than 1 square kilometer in area.

JRandSue said...

Hi Warren,Fog stops play,but not for you. Well done i liked your Sparrowhawk Image.I think patch watching is the root to all good birders,Sue and I try to follow our two patches if time permits.
So well done you.

ShySongbird said...

Well, getting out at that time in an attempt to beat the heat and humidity was a good idea in theory Warren but the fog was something you probably hadn't bargained for, my goodness it did look heavy!

Well done on the Swallows, and the Sparrowhawk behaviour was really fascinating.

J'ellen said...

Nice capture of the foggy mood...esp the hawk lurking on the rooftop. I'm listening to thunder and hail pinging off of everything outside...another "interesting" mood of mother nature's.