Things were pretty quiet at first, the normal species of ROBIN, PIED WAGTAIL, JACKDAW, DUNNOCK, WREN, CARRION CROW and WOOD PIGEON all were noted straight off. A passage of HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS went over, going west, and a flight of 9 SKYLARKS followed them at a lower altitude, more went over in ones and two's during the morning. The biggest passage of birds though was seen over Migrant Alley, I saw a minimum of 150 HOUSE MARTINS go south, in various group sizes, sometimes a few would come down low to feed over the tree's.
A COMMON GULL went over, a good Gull species for my patch, and MEADOW PIPITS made themselves obvious with there ''seep seep'' call. The LINNET flock was still on the college sports pitch, at least 100 strong, and a CHIFFCHAFF was seen in a silver birch tree at the pitch's edge.As I walked back across Migrant Alley, more House martins went over, this time I saw two SWALLOWS with them. This could be the last I see of these two summer migrants, the mean last sighting date is the 8th Oct for swallow, and 7 Oct. for House martin.
I started the second half of my patch walk without a single new species to add to the October list, but that changed rapidly, the next four species to be seen were all new ! A MARSH TIT in the small holding, along with a PHEASANT, a NUTHATCH in the wet woods, and probably the best one, a TAWNY OWL that was in one of the well wooded gardens that straddle the footpath leading from the wet woods to the lake area. It was brought to my attention by a group of noisey birds mobbing it, including JAYS and MISTLE THRUSHES. Tawny owls are seldom recorded on my patch, when they are, it is normally just the call that shows they are present, to see one is quite an event, this is the first ive seen since 2007.
I walked on to the lake, but fisherman had again beaten me there, so anything of interest would have been flushed up, it's hard enough trying to find anything on the lake at the best of times, and these recent fishing activities only make it harder. I checked out the scrub area, and found a nice male BULLFINCH, and as I watched it I thought I heard a high pitch call from above, I scannned the sky and I was right - my first REDWING of the season flew over. The mean arival date for Redwing is the 9th of Oct. So it was early, in fact it was the joint earliest ever recorded, along with one seen on this day in 2003. As I walked back along the footpath to the wet woods, I heard a Tawny Owl hoot from the scrub area - twice, I checked the one in the tree i'd seen earlier, and found it still there - so there are two on my patch, excellent!!
Todays five new species for the month brings the Oct. tally to 52. Still 16 more needed to equal last octobers record.
Above is a photo of the sky this morning, i thought it looked quite attractive.
Below is a female BLACKBIRD
Below - if you look really carefully is the Tawny Owl! You might want to click on the pic and enlarge it!
I recorded 2 species of butterfly today, this Small Copper, and a Clouded Yellow that didn't stop for a photo.