I only had two hours out on my patch this morning, but it was quite a productive time - eventually!
I left at 06:30hrs in cool and windy but bright conditions, and headed for the College Grounds via the Greenhouse Complex and Migrant Alley. I don't think i've seen my patch so deserted, even of people! The only birds seen or heard were the hardy resident species, like WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN and BLACKBIRD, there was a single CORMORANT seen flying over as I passed through Migrant Alley, but that was the highlight.
As the sun rose a little further in the sky, the temperature lifted, if only slightly, but the wind still had a bite, and it was good to get in the shelter of the trees and bushes at the College Grounds. Here there were some birds about, but not in the numbers seen on recent mornings, just the 3 CHIFFCHAFF were of any note. As I left the College Grounds I passed the College Stables, where a HOBBY flew over, but there were no Swallows about yet for it to chase. I spent the final 40mins of my time walking a circuit of the paddocks and pasture of Migrant Alley, where things picked up markedly. A LITTLE OWL was heard calling from the nearby Greenhouse Copse, a YELLOW WAGTAIL went over, and the KESTREL was seen up hunting over a nearby large Garden. A bit of sky scanning revealed four more Yellow Wagtails heading south, and a SPARROWHAWK gliding low over to the College Grounds. The most unexpected sighting of the visit however, was a LITTLE EGRET (78) seen flying low over the Greenhouse Complex, the first here since Feb. The August monthly species total of 78 has now reached the joint highest tally of any month recorded, along with Sept last year.
The sighting of two more WHINCHAT, probably two of yesterdays three birds, was a bonus, as were the two more Hobbies flying over just as I started to leave.
I managed an hours walk this afternoon around 15:00hrs back over at Migrant Alley, but was disappointed not to find the two Whinchat, this was made up for somewhat when I flushed out a SEDGE WARBLER from the same fence line, a scarce passage migrant on my patch, but the second one this month.
I'm back to work tomorrow, so i'll have just one afternoon visit left to try and find that one species needed to attain the highest monthly species tally ever recorded on my patch. :-)
Below is one of the Whinchat, but once again I couldn't get anywhere near it.
The rest of the photo's today were taken in my garden, the first two are of Juv. GOLDFINCH'S