A trip to the coast beckoned today, and we were leaving at 09:45, so there was no time for a full patch walk, instead, I took my scope over to Migrant Alley, to sit and watch from my skywatching seat. I was in good spirits, as in the early hours ( 01:30) I heard a TAWNY OWL (55) calling from the back of my house. Upon investigation from the back window I actually heard 3 ! Nice monthly addition to the list!
Just before 06:30 I walked up the hedgerow to my seat, I could see a BLACKBIRD and WHITETHROAT in the Greenhouse Complex, and overhead 5 HERRING GULL slowly went over. As I was setting up my scope I could see what I thought was a gull heading towards me, this in fact materialised into a COMMON TERN (56), a great start to the morning! This is the second one ive recorded this year, but before these, none have been recorded since 2007!
I took my seat and watched the sky, which was blue and clear, two hot air ballons drifted southwards in the distance, then the honking of Geese was heard behind me, they turned out to be a couple of GREYLAG GEESE, almost immediately, a LITTLE OWL (57) joined the months list, when one called from the Greenhouse Copse, this was turning out to be a good morning :-)
The corvids didn't take long to arrive on the paddocks and pasture, first ROOKS, then JACKDAWS, followed by CARRION CROWS, both GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS called in the distance, along with a JAY, whilst the SWALLOWS stared to arrive, alighting on the Greenhouse rooves. Flyovers were being seen regularly, mostly WOODPIGEON, and more Herring Gulls going over in small parties, but only one BLACK HEADED GULL. Frequent scans of the fence posts and pasture didn't reveal any Wheatear or 'chats' but two SKYLARK were chasing over the pasture.
Three individual LESSER BLACKED BACKED GULLS went over within 10 mins of each other, two STOCK DOVES and a few groups of STARLINGS were seen passing. The boundary hedgerow between Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse started to attract passerine birds, including BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, LINNET, CHIFFCHAFF, and a single YELLOWHAMMER.
Back to the sky and I was pleased to see a GREY HERON (58) fly lazily over, my attention was turned to the Greenhouse Copse when a PHEASANT called, but as I looked up again, 3 MISTLE THRUSHES (59) bounded over the tree's and across the pasture, headed east, another for the months list ! I could hear HOUSE MARTINS up in the blue, but could see nothing, until I used my bins, then got onto around 30-40 of them all going SW.
The next sighting wasn't totally unanticipated, but was a great site to see, both PEREGRINE FALCONS (60) were calling and chasing, I watched for a minute of two before they disappeared up into the blue. What a way to bring up number 60 for the month :-)
By now i'd been out for nearly 3 hours and the time was geeting near to leaving, a few more common species were seen; MAGPIE, COLLARED DOVE, and just as I set off home a SPARROWHAWK showed up. Yet another migrant WILLOW WARBLER was in the Greenhouse Complex vegetation, thats every day this month so far i've seen one, I've had none since April, they are certainly moving through this area now.
As I neared home I saw 20-30 SWIFTS circling high over ASHES Lane, but one more months addition was to be recorded, right on my doorstep, a HOBBY (61) was seen chasing the Swallows above my house.
Well that was a worth while morning, 6 additions to the months list. However, after my enjoyment at the seaside, I arrived home a sat at the window with a cup 'o' tea, and was rewarded with 3 LAPWING (62), flying over Migrant Alley headed NW, quite a day :-)
Below is a view from my seat, looking into the Greenhouse Complex, the green bits are the good habitat, the brown stuff is the farmland, say no more.
Belwo : A NUTHATCH I snapped from my garden before leaving this morning.