The wet and windy weather eventually arrived today, lasting all afternoon, although it was not nearly as wet and windy as had been forecasted, they keep crying wolf !
Starting a new months list always brings a rush of enthusiasm, and this morning I was eager to get out. The forty minute walk to work in the half light, didn't find many species up and about though. The ROBINS, JACKDAWS, BLACKBIRDS and WOODPIGEONS were first on the October list, but it was good to hear a CHIFFCHAFF calling from the Tree Nursery as I passed. A WREN sang from the Greenhouse Complex Grounds, and across Migrant Alley MEADOW PIPIT, ROOK, CARRION CROW, LINNET and PIED WAGTAIL went on the list. The HOUSE SPARROWS were just about active at the College Stables, with a MAGPIE calling on one of the rooves. In the College Grounds, just BLUE TIT was seen, and a flyover HERRING GULL was last of the 15 species seen - a poor start :-(
On the walk home it was even worse ! Just 6 species were found, a strong wind and driving light rain prohibited the use of my binoculars, but I picked out GOLDFINCH on the College Sports pitch, and a flock of STARLINGS. Migrant Alley had both SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTIN going over, and a PHEASANT ran up the fence line. Nearing home a few COLARED DOVES were seen along Ashes lane.
In the conditions it was pointless going out onto my patch, so I decided to see what came to the garden feeders. This proved woeful as well, seldom have I seen the garden so devoid of birds, just 11 species came in to feed, 5 of these went on the October list, GREAT TIT, COAL TIT, GREENFINCH, CHAFFINCH, and NUTHATCH, the months list was brought to the less than respectable 28 when a pair of MALLARDS flew over the house, and a little later 4 BLACK HEADED GULLS did likewise.
Things can only improve ! Tomorrow i'll be out to do a full patch walk, but ive got a job on to reach the record October total of 68 which was reached in both 2008 and 2009, i'll be pleased to reach the mean total for the last 8 Octobers - thats 61 species.