There wasn't alot happening through Migrant alley as I walked home from work this afternoon,so after lunch I decided to visit the wet woods and lakeside scrub.
On the way I pass a newly harrowed field adjacent to ashes lane, this had a few gulls on it mostly HERRING, but also a couple of LESSER BLACK BACKED, and a single COMMON GULL, this was a new one for the month, they might be called Common, but they are anything but on my patch, just one more new species needed to equal the September record now!
I reckoned I could get Kingfisher on the months list if I hung around the lake long enough, but despite 40mins of searching, and only seeing MALLARD, MOORHEN and a GREY HERON on the water I had to concede defeat. My legs were aching by now, so I sat down around some old outbuildings between the lake and scrub, no longer had the blood started to return to my legs, when I saw a glimpse of a large raptor disappear behind one of the buildings only 50 or so feet away. I new what I thought it was, but I waited a second or two for it to re-emerge from the other side of the building, and when it did I was onto it straight away, yes!! A MARSH HARRIER (105) , What a bird to find on my patch, just the second one ever recorded! I only had a 3 second view of it, as it was flying so low, hugging the tree line. It went in the direction of the Tree Nursery, so off I went after it, as fast as my now re-juvenated legs could carry me! Alas when i got out into the open and on slightly higher ground, there wasn't a sign of it, despite much scanning of the sky, but I was elated anyway, not only had I now equalled the Sept. record, with a belter of a species, but I was also just one behind the best ever year list total, set last year.
I decided to carry on walking over to Migrant Alley, doing a circuit of the Maize, and walking along the scrub headland. The SEDGE WARBLER flew up from where it was seen last week at the weedy Maize edge, and above me a KESTREL hovered for a few seconds before flying NE. The scrub had two seperate families of BULLFINCH feeding on the ripe berries, but there was no sign of the Redstart today, the only summer visitor seen there was a CHIFFCHAFF.
A bit of a skywatch was had between 16:00 and 17:00hrs, and a HOBBY seen, as well as a COMMON BUZZARD, which was associating at times with a flock of gulls that were flying around a newly ploughed field, just off my patch. A sighting of a SPARROWHAWK gave me my fifth Raptor species of the day - something that is very rarely achieved, what an excellent afternoon, Oh! and I also saw another clouded yellow butterfly.
Above: A LINNET, dont be fooled by the blue sky, it was just a sunny interval between showers!
Below is a WREN, I don't have much luck with photographing Wrens.