It was clear an cool this morning with a heavy dew, and the smell of Autumn was in the air, a good day for the first full patch walk of September.
I started out at 06:45, in the direction of the Tree Nursery, then on to the Pub Field, Migrant Alley and the College Grounds. As usual it started off pretty quiet, and the daylist was kept ticking over by the common resident species, but was to eventually reach a very good total indeed, 54 no less! Not until Migrant Alley did I find any summer visitors and passage migrants, SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS fed over the sheep pasture, at least 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS were heard as they went over. At the north end Woods/scrub a WHITETHROAT, 2 CHIFFCHAFF and a good sighting of a TURTLE DOVE (51), were had, the latter would be the first of 9 additions to the monthly list.
A walk through the College Grounds yielded a family party of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS feeding in a large Lime tree, along with GREAT TITS, BLUE TITS, Chiffchaffs, LONG TAILED TITS and GOLDCRESTS. A few minutes later both the local PEREGRINES (52) went over noisily, they were mobbing a large crow, which looked to me as though it could of been a Raven, but only poor and short views were had as it moved in and out of the tree line - that would have been a nice patch tick. Checking the ornamental pond I added MOORHEN (53) to the months list as poor compensation :-)
I moved back across Migrant Alley, and picked up a HOBBY high in the sky, and 3 SKYLARK (54) out in the Sheep pasture joined the months list. I scanned the fence lines and posts once again, and came up blank with the Whinchat and Wheatear, this was probably due to a KESTREL (55) that was perched on the fence!
I walked over to the Greenhouse Complex, where a pristine LESSER WHITETHROAT was seen in the boundary hedge, and a flock of 40+ GOLDFINCH flew up from the thistle heads, a small bird seen perched up on an Elder tree looked promising - yep, a WHINCHAT ! That cheered me up, and the first GREY HERON (56) of the month flying over the Greenhouses added to the good feeling.
The first visit to the Lake and scrub area this month gave me some of the expected species that have not yet been seen, MALLARD (57) on the Lake, COAL TIT (58) in the surrounding tree's and a calling BLACKCAP (59) in the scrub area. The over wintering MARSH TIT was seen happily eating honeysuckle berries by the side of the lake.
Two more Raptor species were noted on the walk back home, first the predictable SPARROWHAWK zipping through the Tree Nursery, and second was a COMMON BUZZARD that was being mobbed by two crows over the Wet Woods, a fabulous FIVE raptors in a morning, great stuff!
With the months list up to 59 , there are not many species left that will be easily found on my patch. Mistle Thrush and Pheasant should be found ok, but to reach the target of 78 will be very difficult, it means 17 species of scarce or rare status need to be found.........
Below is one scarce visitor that didn't let me down - the Whinchat
Another was this Marsh Tit. They just love honeysuckle berries!