There was a real gale blowing this morning as I walked to work, with drizzly rain being blown across the fields and paddocks of Migrant Alley, looking like a thick smoke as it traversed the open landscape. Needless to say, in those kind of conditions I didn't record a thing, mainly because I kept my head down :-)
This afternoon, after work, conditions had relented, but only as far as the rain was concerned, the wind was still quite fierce, but at least some sunny spells had developed. The wind made trying to find any birds impossible, unless they were out in the open - which few were, so I walked the fields of Migrant Alley, then settled on my seat for a sky watch.
The circuit of Migrant Alley produced a flock of at least 35 GOLDFINCH feeding on thistles, with 16 LINNET feeding on the seed of 'fat hen'. A large mixed flock of Corvids were on one the paddocks, and a group of 18 STARLINGS were with them. I also found a Small Copper Butterfly, and a couple of Speckled woods on the way round, but the best two species for me were the single WHEATEAR that remains here, and a new species for the month, a YELLOWHAMMER (64). This brings the September list up to 64, the 5th best september (so far) but still 14 behind the record tally set in 2009.
I spent an hour sky watching, and recorded a few HERRING GULLS going over, plus a couple of small flocks of HOUSE MARTINS mixing with the local SWALLOWS for a time, before moving off south again. Four raptor species turned up, the PEREGRINE, a SPARROWHAWK, a KESTREL and a HOBBY - all very nice :-). Apart from that, it was down to just a couple of GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, but it was still a better afternoon than I had expected given that wind!