The good run of species continued this morning, but it was hard going, for the first hour I had just 13 species on my list, but one was a new one for september - a CANADA GOOSE, thirty seven flew low over the tree nursery. But the rest of the birds were very late rising!
The only migrant I saw was a flyover YELLOW WAGTAIL as I passed through Migrant Alley. Things began to improve around 07:15, when I saw 7 MEADOW PIPITS fly over, they were being shadowed by a HOBBY, I watched it close in on them from behind, speeding up as it reached them, the Pipits split in panic, it was like watching an old WW2 film when a Spitfire dives into a flight of bombers! unfortunately the Pipits went right into the path of another Hobby, the two birds then chased the Pipits but I didn't see a kill, was it a planned ambush or just coincidence that two hobbies were chasing the same birds ?
Clever Hobby below
I finished the College grounds, with not many more species on my list, just 23, very poor! My spirits were once again lifted as I entered Migrant alley on my return journey, two Yellow Wagtails had dropped in to the horse paddocks. I then noticed a bird flyover my head and back over to the College stables, where it alighted on one of the buildings, I got my bins on it and found it to be a WHEATEAR, it's rarely I see them away from the paddocks! I had a go at photographing the Yellow Wagtails, then just as I moved on I looked up to see another new species for the month, MUTE SWAN flying over, it had almost gone past me when I spotted it, I must pay more attention! Mute swan is a scarce bird on my patch, not had one since June.
I passed the place where I had seen a small brown bird hop from the weeds into the maize yesterday and sure enough at almost the same spot up one went, this time it didn't disappear, it stayed on the edge of the maize and I confirmed yesterdays suspicions that it was indeed a SEDGE WARBLER, an excellent Sept. record. After this success I tried my luck at the place where I thought I had also seen a grasshopper warbler yesterday - but no luck. I walked back passed the tall hedge and again saw the two REED BUNTINGS, I watched them fly into the maize, which drew my attention to a large bird in the sky, I though it was a Heron, but as it came directly over I saw it was a GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL, another brillliant bird for my patch, and the 4th sept. addition for the day!
As I neared home I checked the daylist and was suprised to find I had amassed 43 species for the halfway point. The second half of my walk to the Small holding, Wet Woods, and lake/scrub area gave me all I could reasonably expect, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, and GOLDCREST were again seen in a feeding flock with 5 Tit species, BLUE, GREAT, COAL, LONG TAILED and the most scarce by far MARSH TIT, and as yesterday they were harrassed by a SPARROWHAWK. Both BLACKCAP and COMMON WHITETHROAT were seen in the Scrub, and GREY HERON and MALLARD were on the lake. A check of my list showed that I was now on 54 species, a really good count for my patch, but I had not seen a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel,Yellowhammer, Pheasant or Mistle Thrush, surley i could get these on the list and maybe reach 60 for the day for the first time!
I decided to go over to migrant alley again and scan the skies, and although I flushed up a female PHEASANT none of the other species showed so I was stuck on 55. I just had to get out for an afternoon visit to find those missing species, so after lunch I convinced the wife it was a nice afternoon for a walk - to migrant alley! We sat on my seat and scanned the sky (well I did) and it wasn't long before I got onto a COMMON BUZZARD 56 now, and it was new for the months list! Ten mintes later I scanned the fenceline for a Whinchat, but instead found a TURTLE DOVE - 57! Plus another for the Sept. list! This really was a good find for the month, as it's the latest ever recorded. The wind came up and Joy felt cold, so we made our way home ( blast it), but the ''fat lady'' hadn't sung yet, ( no I dont mean Joy!) I looked across migrant alley one more time and found, at last, bounding across to the woods a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER 58! So close, but I came closer still when Joy pointed out ''that bird'' hovering over the greenhouses, a KESTREL, 59! almost there!!! Oh for that Yellowhammer or Mistlethrush. I dragged my feet all the way back home, looking and scanning but I couldn't find that 1 more species needed. My last chance is to listen out for a Littel owl tonight - I'll let you know.
What a day again, the best ever day total and 6 more for the sept. list bringing it to 66, just 6 more to equal the record now!
Below is one of 4 Yellow wags seen toady ( to the left of the Horses head!)