I set off out at 06:00hrs this morning, on another 5 hour trek round my patch, the weather was abysmal for the first 2 hours, cool and windy with a light drizzle, but by 08:15hrs the cloud started to break, although it remained blustery.
Needless to say, in the conditions it was difficult to find the birds, nothing was singing, and very few were calling, I only had 15 species on the list after walking Ashes lane, the tree nursery and half way up the hedgerow leading to Migrant Alley, but it was here my luck changed. A glance up at the slate grey sky gave me a new species for the month - a LITTLE EGRET, its white plumage was striking against the grey background, what a great bird to record.
I plugged on in the drizzle and wind, picking up species slowly but surely, and by the time I had completed the first half of my walk I had a creditable total of 42 species, including the family of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, and the nice sight of 4 newly fledged GOLDCREST all huddled together on a branch. Also a smart looking HOBBY that went over, upsetting the SWALLOWS around the Greenhouses,
The second half of my walk around the small holding, wet woods and lake area yeilded another 7 species, 49 for the day, very good in the conditions.
As the sun had started to break through, I decided to walk over to Migrant Alley for a short skywatch, which proved very productive, as I added SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL and the first southerly bound SAND MARTINS of the year, taking the daylist to 52, now I didn't anticipate that at six o'clock this morning, a really good total! There were some notable absences from the list as well, Pheasant, Mistle Thrush, and Yellowhammer could all have turned up, and I am still awaiting the Garden warbler and Lesser Whitethroat this month!
July's species total of 58 now at least equals the lowest July total, always good to get past that mark.
I didn't even take the camera out this morning! So this afternoon I went over to the Thistle patch around the Greenhouse and took the following butterfly shots. Nothing really scarce, but it brightens up this page! Speaking of butterflies I had one fly through the garden this afternoon, it looked Black with white markings - A Marbled white, or White Admiral perhaps, I have not seen either of these species before, shame it didn't settle.
Above: Painted Lady. Below a Comma