Sunny skies slowly gave way to scattered light clouds for todays 5 hour full patch walk. A pleasing total of 49 species were noted, but there were still some regularly seen birds not on the list today, such as Pheasant, Coal Tit and skylark.
The Whinchat that appeared yesterday at Migrant Alley had moved on, so it was down to finding the regular summer visitors today, which was quite hard going, however SWALLOW, HOUSE MARTIN and SWIFT were up over the pasture feeding, a TURTLE DOVE sang for a short time in the wooded headland, and CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, WHITETHROAT and SPOTTED FLYCATCHER were all found in the College Gardens.
There was no sign of a feeding flock over at the Scrubby Woods this morning, but NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER and GOLDCRESTS were easily found, while on the lakes there were 27 CANADA GEESE and 3 GREYLAG GEESE with the ever present MOORHENS and MALLARD, just as I was leaving the area a GREY HERON dropped in.
Nearing the end of my walk, as I crossed the Tree Nursery I spied two large raptors above the Greenhouse Complex, and assumed they were buzzards, I walked over to Ashes lane to get a better view, just as they decided to move off to the NW. As they moved off I watched them frequently stop and hover, not like a Common Buzzard does on the wind, but like a Kestrel, hovering for 15 - 20 seconds before moving further and higher away, I'm pretty sure they were Harriers of some kind, but frustratingly they were not identified sufficiently to give what would have been a very rare year tick, how frustrating!!
Raptors that were identified today included COMMON BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and HOBBY, oh, and the LITTLE OWL in the Small Holding if that counts as a raptor :-)
A few butterflies were on the wing early on, and this Gatekeeper looked stunning in the low light.