A dense fog descended over my patch this morning, making the first full patch walk of the month very frustrating. I had hoped to pick up all the common species relatively easy, but it proved far more difficult with the visibility down to 50 yrds.
The first half of my walk, through the Tree Nursery, Pub Field, Migrant Alley and the College Grounds produced a poor tally of species, but eight of them were new for the month, GOLDCREST (29), STOCK DOVE (30), DUNNOCK (31), MOORHEN (32), GREEN WOODPECKER (33), MISTLE THRUSH (34), SKYLARK (35), and SONG THRUSH (36).
The fog stubbornly remained throughout the second half of my visit, and the birds stayed well concealed, just 14 more species were added to the day list, bringing it to 41, which would have been even lower were it not for running into a mixed feeding flock in the Wet woods made up of : BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, LONG TAILED TIT (37), COAL TIT, MARSH TIT (38) TREECREEPER (39), NUTHATCH, and 3 CHIFFCHAFF.
A couple of BULLFINCH (40) and a JAY (41) that were found in the lakeside scrub joined the months list, as did a LITTLE OWL (42) that called from a large garden as I walked across marchants Field towards the Tree Nursery again. It was a this point a short lived break in the fog was had, and straight away birds began to call and move, so I made a check of the Greenhouse Grounds and its boundary hedgerow with Migrant Alley. Here it seems, all the birds were hiding, BLACKBIRDS, SONGTHRUSH, DUNNOCK, ROBIN,WREN, PIED WAGTAIL and GOLDFINCH were all seen in good numbers, as well as at least 5 more Chiffchaffs. The only bird seen that was new for the month however was a YELLOWHAMMER (43), then the fog rolled in again, so I made my way back home.
Later when the fog lifted, the rain moved in, so I spent the afternoon watching from my house, where a few good species were added to the months list, the ever present SPARROWHAWK (44) made itself obvious now, and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (45) went over, that should have been easily picked up this morning. A CORMORANT (46) was a good sighting for the month, they are sometimes hard to find when you need them, but the most surprising sighting was of a SWIFT (47). This is a very late bird indeed for my neck of the woods, the latest I have ever recorded one in fact, and is a real bonus bird for October, exactly what will be needed if I am to beat the October record of 68.
Above is a photo of one of the many berry laden shrubs that grow in the Tree Nursery. Hundreds of STARLINGS were descending on these, I dont know what they are though. Lets hope the Starlings leave some for the Waxwings :-)