Thursday, 23 August 2012

With the weather looking to deteriorate over the next few days, today was going to need to be a good visit - and boy was it!

The cooler conditions and patchy mist made for a quiet first hour as I walked over to the College grounds, I had only encountered 18 species on the way, only two of those, the SWALLOWS and a BLACKCAP were summer birds and I was feeling very despondent. Once at the College Grounds things picked up a bit, with CHIFFCHAFF, WILLOW WARBLER, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER and HOUSE MARTIN joining the list of summer birds, with the likes of COAL TIT, GOLDCREST and NUTHATCH also being seen. I had recorded 38 species by the time I left the College, and five more joined the list before I got home for a quick drink, they being LESSER WHITETHROAT, found in the hedgerow at the Pub Field, where a couple of LINNET and at last a CHAFFINCH was seen, 25 CANADA GEESE flewover and an immature PHEASANT was along Ashes Lane
Immature Pheasant
Whilst at home gulping down a pint of orange juice, I looked out of the window to see a GARDEN WARBLER in my Elder tree, thats the second one this Autumn. I left to do the second part of my walk in better humour, and almost immediately my luck started to change, a flock of 20 plus LONG TAILED TITS in the Small Holding had a TREECREEPER with them, as well as a family of BULLFINCH, but better was to come once I reached the lakes, where both KINGFISHER (68) and CORMORANT (69) were found, the first this month, the 4 MALLARDS also there, made the day list up to 50 species, then a LITTLE OWL called from the Scrubby Woods to make 51 - I was now thinking about getting 60 species in a day, for the first time ever  :-)  Just before leaving, I had a look over the Buddleia bushes and was very excited when I found this SILVER WASHED FRITILLARY ( at least I think that what it is, Greenie will put me right if not!) This is my 23rd Butterfly species of the year, what a find!
Silver Washed Fritillary
Silver Washed Fritillary
I made my way over to the Tree Nursery, and added WHITETHROAT to the list, then SPARROWHAWK as a male circled over, quickly after, I found a KESTREL perched on a telephone wire over Ashes Lane, that gave me 54 species for the day just 6 more needed, but what was left to find realistically ?, I could only think of Buzzard, Hobby, Skylark, or Yellowhammer, so headed of to where they may be found - Migrant Alley. I soon added BUZZARD, there were 3 circling over the Greenhouse Copse, a tramp across the sheep pasture was had hoping to put up a Skylark, but none flew up, I scanned the fenclines, more in hope than anything, and saw a tiny dot on the wooden rail, 250 meters away - could it be a Wheatear I thought ? Off I went as stealthily as possible, only to find it wasn't a Wheatear, it was in fact not one, but two WHINCHAT (101, 70), fantastic! They are the first of 2012. There is another migrant species that virtually always turns up at Migrant Alley when there are Whinchats about, and another scan of the fence lines found one..........this time it was a WHEATEAR, that really did make my day :-)  The day list had now reached 57, just 3 more species to reach that mythical 60! Skylark, Yellowhammer and Hobby would do it, maybe a Yellow wagtail would fly over, as they have for the past 3 days, however as I made my way over to my seat for a skywatch, passing the boundary hedgerow as I went, I spotted a bird flit from the fence rail to the hedge - a REDSTART (71) WOW! Migrant Alley has earnt its corn today, superb! I watched the Redstart fly into the boundary hedge that borders the Greenhouse Grounds, and whilst scanning for it I was 90% sure I saw a fleeting glimpse of a Reed Warbler - I only saw it once, despite hanging around for it to show again - blast, I cant count it if i'm not 100% sure.
Immature Green Woodpecker
By now I was hot, very hungry and thirsty, so begrudgingly I had to head off home to grab a sandwich and a drink. Half hour later I was out again, trying to find the two species needed to get the 60 species in a day, I sky watched, walked the hedgerows, and tramped the sheep pasture, but I had just run out of bird species  :-(  By 15:00hrs I had to call it a day, only if that Skylark or Yellowhammer had shown, or mybe the Hobby, any of which could realistically have been expected.

Still, it had been a brilliant day, with the year list reaching 101, and the months list leaping into third position, with 71, 4 behind second spot and 7 behind the record August total. I might just sneak off out this evening, if possible..........  ;-)

One of the Whinchats, they were not very approachable, but I got the record shot
Wheatear - a much more confiding species, - sometimes  :-)


Marc Heath said...

Top patch watching Warren, well deserved for all the hours of coverage you do. You never know what's out there.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
A real hat-full of great species today , can feel the excitement from here .
Had some Redstarts today too , but no Chats , well done with yours .
You can also ink in your SWF , a female , if I remember correctly , it was a male last time . 23 species is good going , especially this year .

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Go Warren Go - what a great day!



Warren Baker said...

Thanks Greenie,
you are right, the other record of SWF here was a male. Ive added this female to my Butterfly Gallery at the top right of my home page :-)

Rohrerbot said...

Gorgeous critters! Love the immature woodpecker. That pheasant is one cool number. One of my favorite birds.

ShySongbird said...

Wow! Great photos, great sightings. What a brilliant day you had Warren :-) and a Garden Warbler in your garden too!

Less of the A word though please, I know you're eager for the migrants but it's still Summer even if the weather doesn't think so ;-)

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Songbird,
Perhaps I should refer to Autumn as late summer from now on then :-)

Mike H said...

A great day then Warren not a bad record shot of the Whinchat but the Wheatears are super.

ShySongbird said...

That's much better Warren :-) and I forgot to say very well done on the Silver-washed Fritillary. I'm very envious about that! I did manage to find one recently but not on my own patch.

Jason K said...

I knew you would get those chats this week Warren! there are 2 more at Shenstone today too!

I'm really envious of your Siver-washed Fritillary mate.,..a great find!