As it got lighter, it became evident that things were on the move, I saw the first of many groups of 20-30 REDWINGS, all heading west, and a few WOODPIGEONS did likewise. I reached Migrant Alley and thought I heard a Redpoll go over, and saw a small bird flyover south, but I didn't get enough on it to count it, however as I watched it disappear, I noticed 3 FIELDFARE go over, the first of the Autumn, two new species for the month already, a Cormorant would make a nice trio!
Other birds seen at Migrant Alley were SKYLARK, PIED WAGTAIL, MEADOW PIPIT and flyover BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULL. The walk along the stream was not very productive, but as I crossed into the College grounds, I picked up COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, GREY HERON, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and of course, a SPARROWHAWK. Crossing the sports pitch, a KESTREL flew over, and passing through the stables, and past the ever growing mound of horse manure, a GREY WAGTAIL was seen. I walked back through migrant alley, this time through the scrub headland, where BULLFINCH was seen, and down towards the tall hedge, marking the boundary to the greenhouse complex, in the hedge a male BLACKBIRD posed nicely for the camera, and as I took the photo, 2 birds gave chase to a third, the latter alighted the top of the tall hedge, at once I saw its chestnut red tail twitching, I got my bins on it and saw it was a BLACK REDSTART (106), fantastic!! A new bird for the year - and what a bird to find! I watched it fly off into the grounds of the greenhouses, and followed it up to get some blurry photo's, I didn't get too near, and the light was awful, but it didn't matter, this was a star bird for my patch and only the second ever recorded, the last one was back in July 2007.
Above and below: Black Redstart.
I got home for my halfway point drink and snack, feeling pretty good with my early morning start, all I needed now was just one more new species for the year, and the record year total of 106, reached last year, would be broken!
This gave me inspiration for the second part of my walk, but in the event just 7 new species for the day were found, some good ones though, including the MARSH TIT and a KINGFISHER, which was seen on a garden pond, that has been newly created, lucky people, the pond is not even finished yet, they probably didn't even see their jewel coloured visitor!
A cracking day's birding, 3 more species for October, bringing the months list to 64, which is now in joint second place for the 8 years, but more satisfying was finding that Black Redstart, to equal last years best ever yearly tally of 106.