Both the KESTREL and the SPARROWHAWK were out hunting early this morning, seen around the Greenhouse Complex and Migrant Alley as I walked to work. Also, at least 2 YELLOW WAGTAILS flew over, continuing the almost daily sightings of this scarce migrant, (for my patch at least! )
With the College students all back now, there is nothing around in the college grounds as I walk through on the way home from work, but upon reaching Migrant Alley it was very different, with the first scan of the fence line I found my first COMMON REDSTART (103, 68 ) of the year. This species is the second most infrequent passage migrant to pass through Migrant Alley ( the most infrequent being the Black Redstart) so it's a nice find. The only other records of Redstart are singles in the Autumns of 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009, the only spring record was a single in Apr. 2006.
My day having been made by that little find, I headed off home across the sheep pasture, and I suddenly heard the familiar ''seep seep'' call that I knew wouldn't be long in coming, yes, the MEADOW PIPITS (69) have arrived, they will feature regularly over the Autumn and coming winter. The two arrivals came low over my head, and pitched down into the sheep pasture, its good to know some species can be relied upon, these two arrived just two days before the Mean arrival date for Meadow Pipit.
After lunch, I headed back out to Migrant Alley to see if I could relocate and photograph the Redstart. I did find it, but only got one photo of it, and that was awful, as you can see below. :-) Whilst out on my 90 min visit, I aslo found a couple of WHITETHROAT in the Boundary Hedgerow, they wont be around for much longer now. Both SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS were very much in evidence, some were local birds, others were passing through. A large shower cloud passed just to the NW of my patch, and whilst looking at the rainbow that was formed, I saw at least 23 more Meadow Pipits drop down into the sheep pasture - so they are definitely here :-).
A final look round the Greenhouse grounds and boundary Hedgerow, didn't reveal any more Whinchat, but a few CHIFFCHAFFS and a nice Male BLACKCAP were on the Elder berries.
Right! Now for the Redstart photo. This is the only time I have managed to get a photo of a Redstart, and so that makes it the best one ive got, and as such it goes into my archives :-) Can you see the redish blur in front of the WOODPIGEON ??
This BLACKBIRD proved to be more co-operative, and allowed close views.