The feeding flock in the College Grounds kept me busy for half an hour, trying to sort out all the different species. There was no way an accurate count of of all the birds could be made, as they were flitting through the Oak trees and chasing each other around, but I reckon minimums of 4 SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, 8 CHIFFCHAFFS, 3 BLACKCAPS, 2 TREECREEPER, 10 BLUE TIT, 10 GREAT TIT, 4 ROBIN, 6 CHAFFINCH, 4 GOLDCREST and a dozen LONG TAILED TITS were involved.
Walking back to Migrant Alley via the College Stables there were 30+ SWALLOWS on one of the buildings rooves, with half a dozen HOUSE MARTIN. At Migrant Alley there were indeed Migrants, a TURTLE DOVE sat on a fence line, and two YELLOW WAGTAILS came up from the paddocks, unseen until their call gave them away, better still, there were another two WHINCHAT on the fence posts, incredible! Also flyover CORMORANT was seen flying over the Greenhouse Complex from where I stood.
The Tree Nursery run off pool had attracted a few birds, mostly Blue and Great Tits, Robins WRENS and DUNNOCKS, but a fresh looking GARDEN WARBLER was also feeding deep in the vegetation. It was good to see a GREY WAGTAIL on the muddy remnents of the pool, not least because it made up the trio of Wagtails, its a rare day indeed that all 3 species are seen on the same day.
The lakeside scrub area was unbelievably busy today. I was watching a large feeding flock comprising of of four Tit species, as well as Treecreepers, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, Chiffchaffs, and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, when another feeding flock came through, this was made up of Garden Warbler, Blackcap, COMMON WHITETHROAT, LESSER WHITETHROAT, WILLOW WARBLER, BULLFINCH, Chaffinch, GREENFINCH, plus all the more common resident species, the whole place was just dripping with birds. I spent an hour scrutinizing every berry laden bush, but I couldn't find anything new for the year list. An amazing experience, most of these birds had arrived overnight, and i'll be lucky to see most of these species tomorrow..
A quick scan of the lake to try to relocate yesterdays Coot was had, but it seems to have moved on already, but there was a GREY HERON seen, as well as the usual MALLARD and MOORHEN. As I moved off for a second visit of Migrant Alley, all the birds in the scrub started to alarm call, all that activity had attracted the attention of a SPARROWHAWK, inevitable I suppose. The Sparrowhawk had taken my daylist to 55 species, and I was thinking maybe I could reach 60 ?
That possibility put some extra energy into my step, and I entered Migrant alley for a second visit. I straight away found the two Whinchat, and was delighted to find a WHEATEAR had joined them, blimey, it's almost unheard of to have Whinchat, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail on the same morning - fantastic though! just a few minutes later I was treated to a pair of HOBBIES flying low over the pasture chasing the Swallows, I really was getting to see everything today! I now had 57 species :-) A skywatch was in order, so i went over to my seat, pondering what species I could expect to see. I had not seen Skylark, Pheasant, Black Headed Gull or even a Kestrel, a species that is seen almost daily, where was it today?
The skywatch produced the BLACK HEADED GULL, 4 went over headed west, just two more species to find, but within minutes the rain started, light at first, and I held out for a while, but it grew duller and duller and the rain got heavy, driving me home, I never did get out again, the heavy rain persisted all afternoon, maybe i'll get out this evening. :-)
The photo's today are really terrible !
Below is a Willow Warbler
and below is about all you ever see of the Garden warbler !
These are the Swallows and House martins on the building at the College Stables
now the sharp eyed among you may just spot the two whinchats on the top run of barbed wire :-) try clicking on the photo to enlarge it.