Today I had one of the best birding days ever on my patch, the gradually disappearing sun behind the encroaching crowd mattered not !
I set off with aim, to find the remaining three species that I should comfortably add to my patch month list, those being Mistle Thrush, Pheasant and Black Headed Gull, but I found much more!
Migrant Alley had a LESSER WHITETHROAT still foraging in the boundary hedgerow with the Greenhouse Complex, with it were a COMMON WHITETHROAT, CHIFFCHAFF and YELLOWHAMMER, whilst looking at these, both YELLOW WAGTAIL and TURTLE DOVE flew over. The next species was a nice find for September, and only the second to be recorded in this month, a COMMON SNIPE (60) , it was seen flying up from the ditch that makes up the NW boundary of my patch, the last Snipe to recorded in September was back in 2007.
One of the PEREGRINES flew over the Scrub/wood at the north end of Migrant Alley, but there wasn't any Whinchats or Wheatears in the paddocks and pasture as I came through. As I walked the Stream that runs adjacent the College Grounds my first 'target' bird was seen, a female PHEASANT (61) that broke cover and flew across the field. Upon crossing the Stream to get to the College Grounds, I stumbled upon a KINGFISHER (62) that was sitting on a perch midstream, of course, it was off and gone before my camera was even lifted!
As often has been the case in recent mornings, the highlight in the College Grounds was a large mixed feeding flock, comprising of Chiffchaff, GOLDCREST, GREAT, BLUE, LONG TAILED and COAL TIT, as well as CHIFFCHAFF and TREECREPER, however there weren't any Spotted Flycatchers today, is that them gone for the year now ? Before leaving the College Grounds 3 SAND MARTIN (63) flew low over, good to get those on the September list. :-)
The walk back through Migrant Alley was again Wheatear and Whinchat free, so off I went for my half time drink and snack.
After refreshments I took a wander over to the Lakes and scrub area via the Wet Woods and Small holding, not seeing anything of particular note, even at the scrub area the best I could come up with was a few BLACKCAPS. As I was about to leave, I heard a call in the distance, but I dismissed it, again a few seconds later the call came, closer this time, then again it called, closer still, now I was convinced what it was, a CURLEW (129, 102, 64), even though I couldn't see it, I heard it call several times more as it went off into the distance. An absolutely fantastic patch tick for me, any wader is a bonus here! That made up for the wader that got away as I walked home for my halftime break earlier, a small rather long winged bird, only a little bigger than a Swallow, of which I took for initially, but it was over and gone in seconds, most certainly would have been a patch tick - one that got away.
Feeling well chuffed with my second patch tick off the year, I headed off over to Migrant Alley, for a final look to see if there were any newly arrived migrants. As I arrived I was pleased to get my second 'target' bird of the day when four BLACK HEADED GULL (65) flew over, but suddenly I saw what they were flying away from - an OSPREY! my second one in 5 days!! then almost immediately, two WHINCHAT flew up from the grass ahead of me, blimey I need two sets of eyes. I watched the Osprey drift away westwards, and in doing so saw 3 CORMORANT go over, as well as a late SWIFT (66) very nice, they are hard to get here in September, I then settled down and watched the Whinchats for a while, letting my heart beat slow down :-) before heading off home, a well happy birder! However approaching my house things got just a little sweeter still, as two COMMON GULLS (67) flew over - not a very common bird over my patch at all, and a good addition to the months list.
What a morning that was ! I'm still looking for the third 'target' species though - Mistle Thrush :-)
Below is a Coal Tit, part of the mixed feeding flock at the College Grounds
Next, yet another Whinchat, the 13th consecutive day that I have seen one. If the individual birds I have recorded over the 13 days were all separate birds, it would mean I have had 24 pass through!