The majority of the morning was dull and overcast, the low cloud forming a mist on the surrounding hills, making for poor visibility, however the were plenty of bird species close to hand in the Greenhouse Grounds, only one was a summer species though, that was the CHIFFCHAFF with 2 feeding on the Elder Berries there. With them were the common and familiar species of BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, WREN, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, PIED WAGTAIL, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, GOLDCREST, BLUE TIT, and GREAT TIT, making it much busier than recent visits.
My initial visit to the Ashes lane Field had me watching 50+ MEADOW PIPITS, plus another Chiffchaff in the boundary hedgerow that borders the Pub Field, the maize crop there has yet to be harvested, and i'll need to be there when it is, as it will be full of birds that will seek shelter as the crop falls, I might just get my first Sedge warbler of the year ;-)
I wandered back over to Migrant Alley and did a second circuit of the Fields and paddocks, but found no 'chats' on the fence lines, so I sat on my seat and had a sky watch, which was very productive today! As the distant murk and mist began to lift, I could make out a continuous stream of SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS just to the east of my patch, in the next two hours that stream of birds continued, a few thousand birds, all migrating south, must have passed through in that time.
At least 8 SKYLARK headed the other way - North, and a minimum of 10 YELLOW WAGTAILS passed over, two stopped off in the sheep pasture for a few minutes. Two small skeins of geese went over, the first had 7 CANADA GEESE the second nine GREYLAGS. As the morning grew warmer and brighter, I had another circuit of the fields and paddocks, I saw a female SPARROWHAWK whizz past, heading straight into a large adjacent garden, and a few seconds later the screeching of a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was heard :-( I peaked over the hedge, and saw the Sparrowhawk on the lawn with its prey, as I watched I saw a bloody cat stalking the Hawk! Fortunately the cat was spotted as it made its run, and the hawk made off with its still screeching prey!
As I made my way round the fields, I noticed all the ROOKS, and STARLINGS fly up, I thought it was another dog walker disturbing them, but no, as I scanned the skies I saw a fantastic HEN HARRIER (72)! What a bird to record here! It was a female or immature bird, it's white rump clearly being visible as it flew in an arc over the Greenhouse Grounds and headed SE. Unbelievably, this is the second Hen harrier I've recorded this year, absolutely brilliant birds, this is one the game keepers didn't get ;-)
More skywatching was had, i'd got a renewed taste for it now! I saw two BUZZARDS circle over, and the KESTREL pair put in a belated appearance, making it a four raptor species morning, five if you count the LITTLE OWL that called from the adjacent private garden again ;-)
Well that little lot made up for the disappointment of yesterday! Even the sun put in an appearance, giving me a chance for some photo's, I took the camera over to the greenhouse grounds, but no birds sat for me, however at least 8 Migrant Hawker Dragonflies were seen, some mating, but I had the wrong lens on, I did what I could with it though :-)
|Mating Migrant Hawker. My 500mm lens is not good for macro work|
|If the sun is out tomorrow i'll give it another try with my macro set up :-)|
|I had lots of photo opportunities|
|This one is probably the better of the series.|
|Finally - the good old BLUE TIT at my garden feeders :-)|