As I walked home, I noticed the Maize crop in the 'Pub Field' was being harvested, so that was my destination straight after lunch. As soon as I got there I could see hundreds and hundreds of HOUSE MARTIN feeding on all the insects being thrown up by the harvesting. See Below. Not the clearest of photo's, but it does show quite a few birds, the sky was filled like this in every direction.
I picked my spot along the hedgerow, and watched scores of birds leave the maize and fly to the Hedge each time the harvester passed, when it moved off, they flew back out to the maize again. Most of these birds were CHIFFCHAFFS, but I also noted YELLOWHAMMER, CHAFFINCH, ROBIN, GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT, PHEASANT, DUNNOCK and BLACKBIRD. As I stood and waited for each pass of the harvester, hoping to see a Sedge or Reed Warbler, which I failed to do, I saw all the creatures that lived in the crop running for their lives. Predator and predated had no time for each other, their refuge was getting smaller by the minute, until finally they had to make a run for it, I saw 3 FOXES
This ROE DEER
scores of Rabbits
and 4 PHEASANTS
The harvester finally took the last of the crop, and all was quiet, the animals dispersed off into the countryside - apart from the Deer, this is the one that has been stuck in the field all Summer!
I gave the House Martins a good scan as they swarmed over the cut field, but didn't find a Sand martin with them, as I did, a KESTREL arrived on the scene, as did half a dozen PIED WAGTAILS and the first of the MEADOW PIPITS.
I turned my attention to the Hedgerow, and walked it 4 times, but all I found were Chiffchaffs, I must have looked at 50 of them, some more than once I dare say, but 50 would be a good approximation of their numbers.
I went into the Tree Nursery to walk the other side of the hedgerow, but couldn't find any other warblers except the Chiffchaffs. I walked the lines of shrubs in the nursery, but apart from the odd Blackbird and Robin, it was just more Chiffchaffs. Maybe there was a Sedge or Reed Warbler out there somewhere, but I couldn't find it, I gave the House Martins another good scan for a sand martin, but failed again, however I did see a SPARROWHAWK chancing his luck, it was severely mobbed by hundreds of Martins :-) and wimped off to the North.
It was certainly the day off the Chiffy today, and I had my fill of them this afternoon. However, come the beginning of March next year, i'll still be eagerly awaiting their return, and straining to hear that song - Chiff....Chaff....Chiff.....Chaff.....Chiff...Chaff :-)