Saturday, 17 October 2009

It seems like ages since I have had a full mornings patch walk, so it felt good to be out in the cool morning air. The early sun lasted all of 10mins, and as I walked across the tree nursery, a blanket of cloud crept across the sky. I had 15 species on the list at that point, all the normal stuff, apart from maybe the MISTLE THRUSH that gave its rattling call as I left the house, but the 16th species was a real bonus bird, a GOLDEN PLOVER was heard to call, and then picked out as it flew over the tree nursery, this is the first time this species has been recorded in October, all the other records are from Dec - Jan, as I said a real bonus!

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.
Above is the spanking looking male Blackbird, that if hadn't posed for me, might well of meant missing the Black Redsart

Above is the Grey Wagtail at the manure heap, a poor pic. but the colours on it still look striking.


Anonymous said...

That is a neat blackbird.

Monika said...

Sounds like a fantastic day's birding! Congrats on the redstart.

Chris said...

Congrats Warren for the black redstart!! That's a bird mate! Cool to see that your bird record for October is slowly going there!! are you getting our golden plover now :-) Don't worry they are still some here, just as the redwings, they are still no gone. But I have to say that the temperature raised again at 8°C now... Crazy!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Warren. You did well getting the Black Redstart. and the G/Plover. Your right, the B/Redstart is a cracking bird, mind you your Blackbird photo is great.Keep the tally coming.

Anonymous said...

Nice one, Warren. I was very envious of your text, this morning.

Now it`s my turn to grip you off... ;-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Go Warren! Black Red - nice one, the unexpected ones always are and keep us on our toes...what next in Pittswood?



Pete Woodruff said...

Bird of the day a Black Redstart......excellent.

Obviously you were delighted to see the Golden Plover and commented on my 1,400 at Glasson Dock, all to do with distribution isn't it Warren.

My Regards and Good Birding to you.

ShySongbird said...

Wow , I've never seen a Black Redstart and would love to...I have a VERY long list of would love to see birds!!

I'm desperate to get a photo of a Kingfisher and apparently where I took the photos of the Heron at Draycote there was a Kingfisher fishing for 15 minutes the other day, I think I need to move into that hide permanently ;)

Nice to see the Marsh Tit on your previous post (which I missed commenting on) another one I would love to see!

Re Cormorants, I saw on a blog recently that they are being shot because they are taking too many fish...needless to say I think that is an abomination!!

Jann said...

Looks like another nice birding day! That blackbird photo is esp sharp, excellent shot! As always, I enjoy seeing the difference between your birds and the ones here in the US.

EP Andy said...

Hi Warren

Black Redstart, great bird to get for the patch. Never had one of those over here, well not that I have noticed. Good day for Redwing movement yesterday and a few flocks of Fieldfares as well. A few Siskins about now.

Anonymous said...

Great field photo. It conveys the soil well.