I was out for 6 hours today, four in the morning and two in the afternoon to do some sky watching. The morning started extremely quiet, and it was difficult to even add common patch species like WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, PIED WAGTAIL, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH etc. They were eventually located, and added to the days list, but in very small numbers.
Most of the action, as yesterday, was centered around the College Grounds, where I once again found the SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, an adult was feeding two youngsters in a tall lime tree. Also at the college were a few BLACKCAPS, WHITETHROATS and CHIFFCHAFFS, as well as a TREECREEPER and a noisy family party of GOLDCRESTS, a MISTLETHRUSH there, was only the third record of one this month.
I visited the lakes and scrubby woods, here there were 14 CANADA GEESE on the water, with 22 MALLARD, a big increase in recent weeks, also a few MOORHEN went about there business, swimming from one side of the bank to the other. In the Scrubby woods, the weekend party held there showed evidence of a good time being had, some of which didn't entirely fit in with the previously undisturbed feel of the place. Not much was recorded here, but I expect it will take a few days for it to settle down again.
As the morning warmed up, the birds started to show a bit more, whilst I was in the Tree Nursery, I saw two COMMON BUZZARDS high up, and a TURTLE DOVE flew from the only mature Oak tree there, more Whitethroats and Blackcaps appeared, and a COAL TIT sang from a nearby garden, also a MAGPIE was seen, the first of the day, species number 36, I suspect someones killing these much persecuted birds round here, wrongly presuming them to be responsible for the demise of the farmland/garden birds. I checked the run off pool for the Sandpiper, but it wasn't around today, however there was a NUTHATCH calling from the surrounding trees, and some SWALLOWS were lined up on the telephone wires above.
At the end of my walk, having recorded just 43 species, I thought a last check of the Greenhouse Grounds and the tall hedge at Migrant Alley might be worth a punt, and my hunch was proved right when I found a fantastic REDSTART (64) in the tall hedge. It was extremely wary of me, and hid in the hedge, giving frustrating views, so I sat and waited on my nearby skywatching seat, and a little while later it came out and resumed feeding - a brilliant bird to find on my patch! This is the only year I have recorded a Redstart on both Spring and Autumn migration, also this is the first one to be recorded in August of any year.
I returned to my Skywatching seat later in the afternoon, and the Redstart was again in the same place, I left it in peace, and began to scan the sky, turning up a few HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, as well as 3 more raptor species, SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL ( only the second record this month) and a superb flypast HOBBY, it came slicing through the air just meters from me, leaving me with a broad grin on my face :-)
Photo's today are of a young LINNET, seen in the Tall Hedge
and one of the SWALLOWS on the telephone line
I did my best with the Redstart, but at 40+ meters, it was difficult!