Below: Looking west over the Tree Nursery
I was out just before dawn this morning, and conditions were as far removed
from yesterday as could be, gone was the wind and heavy low cloud, now replaced by mist and clear skies.
In the twilight of the dawn, ROBINS, DUNNOCKS and BLACKBIRDS were heard calling, JACKDAWS and MAGPIES cackled noisily, and an early bit of song was had from a WREN and a GOLDCREST. Overhead I could just make out small groups of BLACK HEADED GULLS, with a few HERRING GULLS, gliding in to alight on the College Sports pitch.
The day list grew as the sun rose, and the fact there were many more birds around than yesterday, made it a more enjoyable day. Common resident species such as BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, PIED WAGTAIL, STARLING and WOODPIGEON were very numerous, where were they all yesterday ?
A GREY WAGTAIL feeding around the manure heap at the College Stables was only the second sighting of this species for October, and a brief sighting of a REED BUNTING in the Tree Nursery was another bonus bird for the morning, a CORMORANT that flew low over was the third in as many days, but they are not seen this frequently very often.
Over on the Lake I counted 14 MALLLARDS, but their numbers were swelled to more than 40, as I watched small parties fly in and splash down, they were coming from the south, where the sound of shotguns could be heard. I scanned each party as they came onto the water, but was always disappointed that no other species of duck were with them, a chance missed for that new monthly species !
A few more nice species were seen before ending my 4 hour walk, three SISKINS dropped in to a conifer tree on the bank of the lake, both COAL TIT and MARSH TIT called not far from there, and a GREY HERON floated across the sky, dropping down onto the shallowest part of the lake. Three small parties of FIELDFARE were seen going over as I neared home, and just as I thought I'd had a a raptorless day, the SPARROWHAWK flew from the Greenhouse Grounds. Just one day left now for October, and the best ever monthly total of 78, only reached in two other months, looks to remain intact, but who knows, tomorrow I might just get lucky :-)
Above: The Grey Heron that dropped down into the shallows
Below: a FIELDFARE
A few other things took my interest this morning, one was this albino Squirrel. Ive seen it a few times recently, but have only just managed to get near enough for some kind of photo.