Sunny spells and a bit of a breeze today for my patch visit, and as I left the house around 14:00hrs the first thing that I heard was the alarm call of the local SWALLOW colony, which meant only one thing - a Raptor was about. I stood and watched, sure enough, after a few seconds a SPARROWHAWK popped up, it was chased and hassled by the brave swallows, who saw it off soon enough.
A few minutes later I was in the tree nursery, hoping for a butterfly or two, when I saw two more SAND Martins fly south, a sure sign of the season on the turn.
Not having seen any Butterflies of note, I wandered over to the lakeside scrub, I checked out the buddlea bush, and found 4 each of Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies, but it could well of been more, as they kept coming and going. Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, and both Large and Small Whites were also feeding on the blooms, which by the way gave of a real heady perfume, I found it was hard to leave that little area ! Leave it I did though, and went into the scrub to look for the Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler, both of which refuse to be added to this months list, and weren't added today, although I may have caught a glimpse of the Garden warbler, it or a Blackcap was scolding me from a nearby bush, where it had youngsters. I also looked for the Purple hairstreak butterflies and was surprised when i found at least 6 in one clump of Oaks, 3 in another clump and at least two in another, this butterfly is probably one of the most common on my patch!
It was whilst waiting for a Purple hairstreak to show that I heard a familiar call from an old friend, a MARSH TIT ! A welcome addition to july's list. The last Marsh Tit was seen on the 14th March earlier this year. This individual was an Immature bird, and I don't think it would have been bred on my patch without me noticing the parents about. Marsh Tits leave my patch in spring to breed elsewhere, then come back in the late summer to over winter. ( well one or two do!) Last year the first one wasn't seen until Oct. 9th, but in 2007 the first one was noted on July 1st, I hope it finds my garden feeders again this Autumn.
A short skywatch at migrant alley was an unproductive affair, apart from a YELLOWHAMMER bringing in food for it's recently fledged young, which were in the hedge just behind me.
Above: A yellowhammer, Below: The marauding Sparrowhawk