A sunny but cool morning greeted me today, but it soon clouded over by the time I got onto my patch at 14:00hrs.
As I left for my afternoon patch visit, I texted a friend to say ''how really quiet'' it looked on my patch as I walked home from work, how very wrong i was !!
I first visited the Lakes and scrub area, where I found myself enveloped by a feeding flock as I walked along the vegetative sides of the main lake, mostly LONG TAILED TITS, but COAL TIT, MARSH TIT, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER and GOLDCREST were also seen, strangely though, no Blue or Great Tits were with them. A quick scan of the water, and the usual MALLARDS and MOORHENS were seen, one Moorhen was trying to eat a floating apple, which amused me, as it couldn't get a decent peck into it as it bobbed about :-) then as I was watching that, a KINGFISHER (56) zoomed across the water and alighted some 40m away, where I got a poor photo of it.
If this was all I had recorded today, it would have been considered a reasonable day, what with the Kingfisher new for the month, but having left the Lake area, I visited the Tree Nursery, where the day turned into one to remember. I was watching the STARLINGS come down to the Laurel berries, and noting the CHIFFCHAFF that was calling nearby, when I looked up to see if there were any Swallows or House Martins about - there weren't, but there was what I thought at first, to be a Mistle Thrush, it flew over, then turned back and alighted on a Pine tree, I lifted my bins to see a superb male RING OUZEL ( 130, 104, 57) , a FANTASTIC patch tick !!!!!!! I read about birders seeing these northern thrushes around the coasts, and the odd bird reported from inland, but NEVER did I think I would get one on my patch! I am ecstatic with this record :-)
I had yet to visit Migrant Alley, and it was with a large spring in my step that I did a circuit of the Sheep pasture and paddocks. On the very first scan of the recently chopped young hedgerow, I found what would have in itself made the month, not one, but a pair of STONECHAT (58) , just the second record of this species for the year, they are not seen in every year on my patch so this really had turned in to some afternoon :-)
Chuffed to bits with the days birds, I couldn't expect much more, but it hadn't ended yet, I was well pleased to see a HOBBY (59), hunting low over the paddocks, this is my latest record of this species, so its another great bird for October. ( the previous latest date was on Oct 1, in 2004).
Scanning the remaining fields, I found a mixed flock of 26 PIED WAGTAILS, at least 50 LINNETS, and again, at least 50 GOLDFINCH, quite something to hear when they all took off, as a KESTREL came over :-)
So there you have it, not so quiet on my patch after all, what a day :-)
Photo's today are of a poor quality, as they are all distant, but its a good reminder of this brilliant afternoons patch watching.
Below: The patch tick Ring Ouzel - I told you it was distant :-)
Below: The male Stonechat, what a great little bird.