A new month, and a new species list for August starts. The best August bird species total is 70, achieved in 2008 and again in 2009. However, the combined August list is the lowest of all the months, with just 77, a strange stat really, but one that can be sorted :-)
The morning started as usual, with a stroll down Ahes Lane, picking up the likes of GREENFINCH, COLLARED DOVE, WOODPIGEON, BLUE TIT, LINNET, CARRION CROW, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, WREN, SWALLOW, PIED WAGTAIL and flyover HERRING GULL. Turning into the Greenhouse Complex Grounds, STARLING, GOLDFINCH, WHITETHROAT and MAGPIE went on the list, while Migrant Alley added a flyover BLACK HEADED GULL, as well as the usual ROOKS, JACKDAWS and a ROBIN in the Tall Hedge, which I thought disappointing, as I was hoping for a migrant species.
It got better a little further on as I walked the North End scrub, a WILLOW WARBLER was giving a bit of quiet song, the first seen since April, also the first GREAT TIT of the day was seen. As I passed the College Stables, HOUSE SPARROW, and a flyover GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were noted, while high in the sky 4 SWIFTS were circling. Approaching the College Stream, I could here a TREECREPER singing, a species I dont often hear singing in Aug. but very welcome to the day list nonetheless. I looked for the Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail that were present yeserday, alas they were not found, but 6 HOUSE MARTIN were feeding over the treeline. I crossed the stream, flushing a MOORHEN out of the bankside vegetation, and entered the College Grounds, where SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH, CHIFFCHAFF, CHAFFINCH, DUNNOCK and flyover KESTREL were seen.
Crosing Migrant Alley again, to get to the Pub Field, two GREYLAG GEESE flew over, but the hoped for Wheatear or even Whinchat were not seen this morning. The Hedgerow along the Maize crop in the Pub Field held little new for the daylist, but as I went into the adjacent Tree Nursery, 3 GREEN WOODPECKERS were feeding amongst the shrubs, and a pair of both STOCK DOVE, and even better, TURTLE DOVE were seen. Walking back up Ashes lane, towards home for a halfway drink, I heard a JAY screech from the Wet Woods, also a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL flew over.
After I had re-fueled, I went on over to the Lakeside Scrub, via the Small Holding and Wet Woods, recording NUTHATCH, LONG TAILED TIT, and COAL TIT, before reching the lakes. On the water, the only species added was MALLARD, a bit disappointing. The surrounding scrub area was alive with birds, all feeding on the ripening fruit of Bramble and Elder, mostly Tit species, but with those, BLACKCAP was found for the daylist, and a bonus bird was a SKYLARK heard singing briefly overhead. I decided to walk back over to Migrant Alley for one last quick look, and in doing so passed the lake again, where 7 CANADA GEESE had dropped in whilst I was in the scrub.
I reached the Greenhouse Complex, and walked through to get to Migrant Alley, but before getting there, a small brown bird flew up form the vegetation, and into a large spreading friut tree of some kind, I scanned the fruit tree and waited, and was handsomely rewarded by seeing my first SEDGE WARBLER (96) of the year! A great little warbler for my patch, common enough in the right habitat, but a real treat to get on my patch :-)
I had just 15mins before I had to be back home, so quickly checked the tall hedge and the rest of the boundary line of Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Complex, here not only did I find another Blackcap and two more Whitethroats, but also a LESSER WHITETHROAT, bringing up the 50th species on a most rewarding first day of August :-)
Later in the day a tea time visit to the paddocks and pasture of Migrant Alley was worth the effort, as a SPARROWHAWK was seen, and a YELLOWHAMMER was calling from the top twig of the Tall Hedge. 52 !
Photo's today are pretty rubish! Below is a glimpse of the Sedge Warbler, just about in the middle of the photo, you might have click on it to to enlarge it :-)
Just as poor is this Linnet, seen at Migrant Alley it was with a flock of Goldfinch feeding on the thistles in the background