This afternoons patch visit was carrried out under a brilliant blue autumnal sky with warm sunshine, totally the opposite to yesterdays dismal affair. I spent 3 hours out around the tree nursery and Migrant Alley, the first noteworthy bird seen was a KESTREL hunting around the Greenhouse Complex, I had seen this bird at 07:10 this morning, so maybe it wasn't too successful earlier.
The tree nursery produced a bit of a surprise, when my first KINGFISHER of the month zoomed past, fast and low, it's not often i see them away from water, but I suppose they have to get from one body of water to the next, I just got very lucky! Also in the nursery were a couple of GREEN WOODPECKERS and the usual ROBINS and DUNNOCKS, not much else as there was a work party there.
Over at Migrant Alley the hedgerows that were removed by the gas pipeline works were being re-planted, but the workmen were only around for half an hour. After they had finished, I walked the full length of the hedge, finding a couple of MEADOW PIPIT, and better still, another STONECHAT or maybe it was the one I saw yesterday morning ? Next stop was the scrub at the north end of Migrant Alley, where a party of LONG TAILED TITS were moving through, they were really vocal, sounding like they were all chatting excitedly about the sunny weather! I watched them go through and looked for anything unusual that might be with them, but just BLUE and GREAT TITS showed.
I turned down to go through the paddocks and fencelines, directly opposite to the hedge walked earlier, and saw a blob on the fence ahead, I got it in my bins and found it to be a Stonechat, was it the same one I'd seen 20mins earlier ? The hedge is only 200 meters away, I sat down and watched the Stonechat feeding, dropping down to catch insects from the long grass, as they do, I also had a clear view of the hedge from where I sat, and kept scanning the fence posts, and yes! There was the original Stonechat, so I had two on my patch - now thats a real rare treat!!
I spent the last hour of my visit skywatching from my favorite seat, whilst there, a party of students walked through migrant alley, right past the Stonechat, this was a bit fortunate really, as the bird flew over the field, and joined the other one, and I managed a distant photo of the two together.
The skywatch didn't produce the anticipated Fieldfares, in fact not much flew over at all, a few more Meadow Pipits, and PIED WAGTAILS, also a very distant Common Buzzard - well of my patch, the only othe raptor species seen were a couple of SPARROWHAWKS.
I was good to be back out again today, a day made even better by the Stonechats.
Above Stonechat one, below, a distant photo of them both