A cold and clear start to the day, but once the sun was up, the day turned out to be one of those September days that you yearn for while in the depths of winter, warm, still, and peaceful.
Whilst jotting down all the common resident species, I kept coming across CHIFFCHAFFS, some singly, some in two's, others in small groups, a good percentage of them were giving some song too, obviously they had dropped in during the night.
Walking along the College Stream, I found a feeding flock of BLUE, GREAT and LONG TAILED TITS, more interestingly there were 2 female and a lone male BLACKCAP with them, as well as two GOLDCRESTS. In the College Grounds 3 MISTLE THRUSH were seen, and flyovers from HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULL were noted there. I made my way out to Migrant Alley, I had already passed through earlier, but nothing much was seen, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL being about the best bird, but by now it had warmed up a bit, and the insects were started to stir, MEADOW PIPITS and at least 2 YELLOW WAGTAILS were out in the sheep pasture, but not a single Swallow or House martin was about.
The second part of my walk gave me all I could expect at this time of year, both NUTHATCH and TREECREEPER were heard in the Wet Woods, and the MARSH TIT was feeding on it's favoured Honeysuckle berries that grow along the footpath that runs from the Wet Woods to the Lakes. On those lakes GREY HERON, MALLARD and MOORHEN were seen, I could hear COAL TITS now calling in the Scrub area, along with BULLFINCH and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, the morning was made complete when the SPARROWHAWK came in low and fast, diving into the scrub.
The total of 44 species after the full patch circuit was a fair effort, but it was still early, so I had another trip over to Migrant Alley, as I hadn't recorded SWALLOW or HOUSE MARTIN, that was soon put right when I found a mixed group of around 75 feeding on the now swarms of flies that associate with the sheep. A group of Chiffchaffs were in a hedgerow that borders one of the large gardens and Migrant Alley, and scanning these I heard the faint song of my first WILLOW WARBLER (72) of the Month, I thought i'd missed out on this species for September! Moving round the fence lines of the pasture and paddocks I had hoped for a Whinchat or Wheatear, but they had moved on, however, I did find a female and young YELLOWHAMMER in the tall hedge, as well as a bird thats been more scarce than Wheatear or whinchat on my patch this year - a REED BUNTING (73) only the third one seen this year.
I took my skywatching seat, and watched the frenzy of feeding going on out in the sheep pasture, at least 30 Meadow Pipits were 'seep seeping' and the two YELLOW WAGTAILS were with them chasing about, the group of Swallows and House Martins seemed to be getting larger and they whizzed around the sheep, inches from the grass, as I scanned the Martins, I was pleased to see another SAND MARTIN with them, ive done well for this species on my patch this year!
One more species was added to the list as I neared home, no less than 3 COMMON BUZZARDS were up soaring over my house, very nice sight :-) Later whilst doing some garden maintenance, another Buzzard went over, this time being harassed by a PEREGRINE !
I had an afternoon wander over to my skywatching seat at around 13:00hrs, and added KESTREL to the day list, as well as seeing 5 more Yellow Wagtail drop in to join the Meadow Pipits, but apart from that nothing else was added, It was nice watching a few more Buzzards and Sparrowhawks up in the blue though :-)
53 species for the day -- an excellent result for a September day!
Above : Everyones favourite bird......a ROBIN
These two Butterflies were on the wing in the warm sunshine today. Below is the Comma and above the Small Copper