It's back to the cool, cloudy and dull conditions again! This didn't help with bird sightings, and first thing it was very quiet, just 17 species were recorded as I walked Ashes Lane, the Tree Nursery, the Pub Field and most of Migrant Alley, the best of those being a GOLDCREST calling along Ashes Lane.
The Whinchat seemed to have gone from its usual fence line, but as I came to the end of Migrant Alley and walked past the College Stables, a WHEATEAR was spied on one of the stable roofs, the next best thing to a Whinchat :-)
Moments later a HOBBY came through, and chased the SWALLOWS around the paddocks, things were livening up as the temperature rose a little. Entering the College Grounds I saw that the feeding flock had returned again, mostly BLUE and GREAT TITS, but at least 5 CHIFFCHAFF, 4 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, (2 Juv), 3 Goldcrest, and a COAL TIT were seen.
A walk back through Migrant Alley to check out the fence lines for 'Chats' proved friutless, but I saw a CORMORANT go overhead, and 35 LINNET plus around 20 GOLDFINCH'S were in the boundary hedgerow.
The second part of my walk over to the lakes and scrub area, was of mixed fortune, a GREY HERON was fishing at the side of the main lake, 13 MALLARDS and 4 MOORHEN were all that was on the water. In the scrub it was good to find two GARDEN WARBLERS and a few BLACKCAPS, but not one Whitethroat was seen here, or anywhere else on my patch today. The SPARROWHAWK made itself known, as it does most mornings over the lakes.
With 43 species on the list, I decided to have one last check of the paddocks and pasture at Migrant Alley, on the way, as I walked through the Tree Nursery, I recorded KESTREL and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL going over, and a STOCK DOVE flew out of the field.
At Migrant Alley I scanned the fence lines again, but again saw nowt, until I walked the final field boundary that divides the paddocks and pasture from the Greenhouse Complex, along here I saw a small bird fly up in front of me and alight on the hedge, right next to another small bird, they were both WHINCHATS ! Blimey, two more! Migrant Alley has come up with a Whinchat fest this Autumn :-) As I watched the Chats, two SKYLARK flew from the pasture, bringing the mornings species tally to 48.
An afternoon visit to the same hedgerow to relocate the Whinchat, and maybe get a photo, was well worth the effort, as I found not 2 but 3 of them!! I had all three in my binoculars at the same time :-) But still couldn't get near enough for a photo though. I also recorded a SAND MARTIN hawking insects over the pasture with the Swallows, that species and a MARSH TIT seen in my garden later took the daylist to a nice round 50. However there were some glaring omissions from the list today, the Common Whitethroat as mentioned, as well as Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, and Teecreeper.
I took a few photo's but they were dire, the light was poor enough as it was, but this young Spotted Flycatcher insisted on staying in the shadows as well.
A Skein of CANADA GEESE going over the Greenhouses early on.