Monday, 30 September 2013

My last patch visit for September was a full patch walk, with an additional afternoon visit thrown in, making 7 hours spent out in the field, which in some warm and sunny weather was rather pleasant  :-)

43 species were recorded for the full patch walk, with a further 4 added in the afternoon visit, those were all flyovers -  a lone CORMORANT, 3 GOLDFINCH (yes it took that long to find some!) a BLACK HEADED GULL and small groups of HOUSE MARTINS, which passed over with a few SWALLOWS among them.

My main target species this morning was the Yellowhammer, i've never failed to get this species on the months list for the past 140 months, but it has now happened, no Yellowhammers were recorded this September, such a sad state of affairs for this once reasonably common species here, but it's a reflection of the poor state of the habitat at Pittswood nowadays  :-(

I was also o the Lookout for the last few summer species, CHIFFCHAFF were found, three singles were noted, one of those in song at the Greenhouse Grounds, but apart from the already mentioned Swallows and House Martins, that was it.

MEADOW PIPITS and SKYLARKS flew over, some alighting for short periods in the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, the Autumnal theme continued when 2 SISKIN were seen over at the Scrubby Woods, the BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, NUTHATCH, and TREECREEPER were also seen here, where quite few BLACKBIRDS, 3 MISTLETHRUSH, and a couple of SONGTHRUSH made themselves more noticeable than on recent visits.

Other highlights for the visit today were a GREY WAGTAIL, which was seen early at the Greenhouse Grounds water intake, a LITTLE OWL seen on a fence line off High House Lane and the three raptor species of KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK and BUZZARD, 3 of the latter were up soaring on the afternoon thermals  :-)

The months species total ended on 73, the second best September tally, the same tally as 2010, 2011, and 2012, the mean average species count for the previous five years is 74, with the best September count being 78 which was recorded in 2009.  Two species were recorded this September which have not been recorded in any other, the Tufted Duck and the Hen Harrier, they bring the 12 year combined September list to 94, this is the third best combined monthly tally, behind April and October, which have 107 and 95 respectively.

The year list was incremented by two species this month, those being the Tufted Duck and the Sedge Warbler, and now stands at 105, still four behind my target this year of 109, which is the average yearly species total for the previous five years, maybe i'll get lucky with a few duck species on the lakes this winter  :-)

The only photo's ive got for today are from my garden, taken last Friday.
Nuthatch,I like the way the orange underparts of this bird blend with the wood

Sunday, 29 September 2013

I wasn't going to do a post until Monday after my excursion to see the Spotted Crake at Oare and the Lesser Yellow legs at Cliffe yesterday, then a visit to Alan Paveys patch at Sissinghurst this morning, I didn't think I'd have time to visit my patch this weekend, however, I found myself with a spare hour or so after dinner today, so I went to see if I could get what would probably be my last Dragonfly photo's this year, the only ones left on the wing here now are the Migrant Hawkers, and I found a few in their usual place at the Greenhouse Grounds.

Whilst taking the Hawker Photo's, a SPARROWHAWK was seen up hunting, and one of the KESTREL pair took an interest in what I was up to, watching me from the Greenhouse roof, at one point it swooped down and caught a vole, but much more spectacular was seeing it zoom a meter or so from my head, snatching a mating pair of Migrant Hawkers that I was waiting to alight for a photo! It flew off to eat them on the roof, but one manged to escape  :-)

Tomorrow being the last day of the month, i'll be out first thing for a full patch walk, hoping to add something to the months bird count, namely the Yellowhammer!

Here's the photo's of the Hawkers, ive done them before I know, but they are brilliant little creatures :-)
I got a few flight shots this afternoon
Migrant Hawker In Flight
I reckon this one is my best flight shot yet  :-)
It posed nicely at times too
At one point I got my macro set up to within 12cm of it
Migrant Hawker

Friday, 27 September 2013

Greenhouse Grounds, looking from sheep pasture
I did a full patch walk this morning in some pleasant Autumn sunshine and with a NE breeze blowing I was hoping for a migrant species to pass through.

Alas, I didn't manage to find any passage species, in fact birdlife was very scarce around the place. In the five hours I was out, I recorded a mediocre 40 species, 15 of which were just singles, and a further 10 were only seen in two's and three's, the likes of Greenfinch and Songthrush were not recorded at all, very unusual.

The summer birds have nearly all gone now, just 4 CHIFFCHAFF were noted, 2 in the Greenhouse Grounds, where a BUZZARD had joined the KESTREL on one of the roofs, another Chiffchaff was seen at the Scrubby woods and also 1 along Ashes lane, 3 SWALLOWS that flew over Migrant Alley were the only other summer birds.

It was a very Autumnal sound hearing SKYLARKS and MEADOW PIPIT flying over Migrant Alley, where I also noted a CORMORANT flying over, as well as the only HERRING GULL of the morning, plus a GREY HERON, I flushed a sneaky SPARROWHAWK from one of the battered hedges as I walked past. Another Grey Heron (or maybe the same one) was seen on the small lake sitting with a MALLARD, but the Main Lake was devoid of water fowl and the Ornamental lake only had a few MOORHENS on it - all pretty normal fare  :-)
Grey Heron and Mallard on the Small Lake
The adjacent scrubby Woods was very quiet, as were the Wet Woods, but BULLFINCH, COAL TIT, NUTHATCH and JAY were seen. It was a bit livelier at the Small holding, where GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were found, plus TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, and another Nuthatch, as well as the familiar and common BLUE TITS, GREAT TITS, WRENS, ROBINS, DUNNOCKS, and CHAFFINCHES.

I was hoping to find that Yellowhammer for the months list as I walked High house Lane and the arable fields, as this is the most likely place to find one, but to no avail, although one was reported to me only a short distance from there ( thanks CM) I did hear a MISTLETHRUSH singing along the lane though, with a further two flying from a tall Poplar Tree, a LITTLE OWL was seen on a fence pole and 4 PHEASANTS were the only additions to the list from this part of my patch.

On arriving home after my walk, I made my way into my back garden, flushing all the birds from the feeders as usual, but one bird remained, that, I am very pleased to say, was a TREECREEPER, it was on the trunk of my established Elder Tree, a very nice woodland bird to have visit my small garden   ;-)  Its just the 4th record in the 14 years i've lived here, and is the 39th species to enter my garden this year. The last 3 years has seen 36 species use my garden in each year, this was the highest tally, and the number of visiting species had seem to plateau off, but this year has way surpassed those years, I wonder if 40 species for the year can be reached ?
Treecreeper in my Garden, no time for a decent shot, unfortunately

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Overnight rain cleared early this morning, leaving an overcast sky and a light NE wind, a combination that I though might have dropped a few passage birds in, but it wasn't to be.

The same quick route around most of my patch was had, that same route that I took yesterday, but it was not such a busy visit. CHIFFCHAFFS are still around in small numbers, with 2 in the Greenhouse Grounds, 1 in the Pub Field hedgerow, 1 along Ashes lane, and another 2 in the Scrubby Woods/lake area. similarly, the only BLACKCAPS concerned 1 that was in the Greenhouse Grounds and another in the Scrubby/Woods Lake area. SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN were the only other summer birds recorded, when 18 of the former and 4 of the latter flew high south over Migrant Alley.

Also at Migrant Alley, a SISKIN, three SKYLARKS and a few MEADOW PIPITS went over, as did a pair of CANADA GEESE the first seen for a week or so here. Not much else to report on a quiet visit, but it was great watching 4 BUZZARDS soaring up over the Greenhouses, they hung around all day and were seen well from my garden this afternoon as I toiled in it  :-)  SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were the only other raptors seen today, the former paying more than one visit to my feeders.

Only 4 days of the month left now, and two of those I will in all likely hood be visiting elsewhere, can I find that Yellowhammer for the months list, or will this be the first month ever not to have one on the months list ?
My only photo's today come from my garden, good job thats always obliging  :-)
Chaffinch, Female
BLUE TIT, what a beauty  :-)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

More fog this morning meant a later start, and I didn't get out until 07:30hrs, it was very mild, but still a bit foggy even then, in fact it never really cleared all day, even a bit of rain fell mid morning - strange weather!

With the maize crop now harvested, I can use the footpath that runs along the edge of the Pub Field to get to Migrant Alley and then onto the Greenhouse Grounds. If taken steadily that route takes about 2 hours.

Crossing the Ashes lane Field to get to the Pub Field the only birds of note were a few flyover MEADOW PIPITS, whilst the hedgerow along the Pub Field had just one CHIFFCHAFF of note, the new stubbles had only attracted a few WOODPIGEON, ROOKS and a couple more Meadow Pipits.

A circuit of a disturbed Migrant Alley, produced a single YELLOW WAGTAIL that was out amongst the sheep and with it were 3 SKYLARKS, a SNIPE flew over attracting my attention with its call, a little later in the morning another was seen, quite something to get two in one day, especially in September!

The Greenhouse Grounds had at least 2 Chiffchaff, as well as at least 2 BLACKCAP feeding on the Elder Berries there. The LITTLE OWL in the adjacent large garden, heard almost daily now, was joined by another today, both were heard calling together, then just before I left 2 SISKIN flew over calling loudly, another good September bird to find here  :-)

I made some attempt to visit the Lakes and Scrubby Woods, but the area was well disturbed today, the nearby very large gardens were full of Chainsaw and scrub cutter noise, I did sit and try to listen over the din, and heard BULLFINCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, and COAL TIT, the latter gave some song, as did another Chiffchaff. Four more Blackcaps were noted in a tangle of Blackberry/elderberry, one of those gave a bit of Subsong too.

An hours sky watch over on my seat at Migrant alley was brought to an end by a downpour, but nothing much was moving now, just the local SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL and a few HERRING GULLS.

A short afternoon visit to the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant alley didn't get me a Yellowhammer, i've still to find one this month, if I do mange to locate one, it will take the months list to 74, moving this Septembers tally to second place out of twelve, at the moment it is in joint second place with 2010, 2011 and 2012!

The camera got an outing, but not much came near today.

These LONG TAILED TITS turned up again at my garden feeders, at least a dozen visited   :-)
Long Tailed tit
Five Long Tailed Tits

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dense fog shrouded the area this morning, visibility was down to less than 100 meters, and all I saw (heard actually) as I walked a circuit of Migrant Alley was a SKYLARK as it flew over, and lots of ''ticking'' ROBINS. realising I was on to a looser, I headed off home for a cuppa, while the fog cleared.

By 09:30hrs the fog had lifted a bit, so I went off out to the Greenhouse Grounds, finding 3 BLACKCAPS and a CHIFFCHAFF. I soon became aware of the roar of engines coming from the Pub Field, harvesting time had arrived, and the Maize there was about to fall, so I headed off to watch, spending until 15:00hrs there   :-)
The Pub Field starts to be Harvested
In the photo above, the hedgerow on the left divides the Pub Field from the Ashes Lane Field, its about 100 meters long and filled with wild fruit. I'll take a photo from the same place in a few days/weeks time, when no doubt it will have been thrashed to pieces by the flailing machines  :-(

I always try to be here when the Maize is harvested, as it hides so much life within, in the five hours I stood and watched I saw the following fly out of the crop.
13 Chiffchaff
4 MEADOW PIPITS ( but more were flying over)
1 Blackcap
1 LESSER WHITETHROAT, this is the second latest date for Lesser Whitethroat here.
and lastly, the best of all, the one I was waiting for,...............a SEDGE WARBLER (105,73)  the first and probably the only one i'll see this year! It flew from the Maize, into the hedge, and I just had time to point and shoot the camera before it dropped down into cover, not the best of my photo's, but a momento of a scarce species on my patch  ;-)
Sedge Warbler - I think you can just make it out as such  ;-)

Also running for their lives were numerous Rabbits and five Foxes.

I broke off watching the maize being havested for a few minutes whilst I went home to get my camera, a fortunate move, as I saw this WHEATEAR in the Ashes lane field, it was gone when I returned ten minutes later.
 Wheatear in the Ashes Lane Field, shame about the wire in the backround!
Other notables seen whilst I watched the Maize being cropped, where flyovers from KESTREL, BUZZARD and a pair of SPARROWHAWK, just 2 SWALLOWS were seen all day, HERRING GULLS and a single BLACK HEADED GULL were seen, and a LITTLE OWL called from the old shack in the adjacent Ashes Lane Field.

By 15:00hrs the field was finished, so I went home and changed my lens on the camera, then went over to the Greenhouse Grounds to get some more Migrant hawker photo's  ;-)
Migrant Hawker
Migrant Hawker
Migrant Hawker

Monday, 23 September 2013

I spent virtually the whole morning visiting the fields and paddocks of Migrant Alley, the Greenhouse Grounds, Greenhouse copse and the Ashes lane Field, as this is the area of my patch that I am most likey to find a new species for the month or year list.

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  :-)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

I did another full patch walk this morning, the weather was dull, and misty with a thick cloud cover, but with little wind it felt quite warm out.

The birding was awfully slow,  just 25 species were found as I walked the Greenhouse Grounds, Greenhouse Copse, Migrant Alley and the Ashes lane Field, with very few highlights to note. One of those would have to be the HOBBY that flew low over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, the average last sighting date for Hobby over the past 11 years is the 27th September, so I suspect this will be one of the last sightings.

SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS continue to head south west passing over in small mixed flocks, but the only other summer species seen today was the CHIFFCHAFF, they are still about in reasonable numbers, with at least 11 seen this morning all told.

A LITTLE OWL was calling from the private garden along Ashes lane, where atop a large Eucalyptus tree 3 MISTLE THRUSHES perched for a while before flying off SE.

The main lake had a KINGFISHER on it today, but little else, the Scrubby Woods and the Wet Woods had relatively few birds in them, BULLFINCH, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, and NUTHATCH being the most notable of those, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was heard to 'drum' for a short time.

An hours skywatch from my seat at Migrant Alley was pretty sleep inducing, just a KESTREL, a SPARROWHAWK and a few HERRING GULL were seen, along with the continuing passage of the Swallows and House Martins, a disappointing tally of just 40 species were noted in the 5 hours I was out, well low for a September day.

In the gloomy, dull light, It was hopeless for photo's, the sun was forecast to make an appearance later this afternoon, and I had hoped to get some garden feeder shots, but the sunshine never materialised  :-(  a pity, as I had the Nuthatch and a flock of 8 LONG TAILED TITS on the feeders.

better luck tomorrow I hope!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The cloud cover persisted throughout my full patch walk this morning, only allowing the odd brief brighter interlude every now and then.

I spent 5 hours out, and in the end came away with 45 bird species, but they proved hard to find, especially early on. There has been a real exodus of CHIFFCHAFF since my last visit on Thursday, only three were found, the other late staying summer species the BLACKCAP was represented by just a single female, seen at the Greenhouse Grounds. The local SWALLOWS had also left, the only ones seen were obvious migrants, flying purposely SW along with the migrant HOUSE MARTINS, its always a bit sad when the local Swallows leave  :-(

MEADOW PIPITS continue to arrive on my patch, some staying to feed in the Ashes Lane field, and on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, while others fly through, at one point 20-30 birds suddenly filled the air, the culprit obviously a SPARROWHAWK, but as I watched the Hawk, a BUZZARD also came through low, and one of the KESTREL pair flashed past, no wonder the birds were hard to find this morning !

A KINGFISHER and a GREY HERON were on the main lake, but little else of note was seen on the water. The Scrubby Woods and the Wet Woods provided me with most of the regular and familiar species between them, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKER all being found, but they only took the day list to 38, it took an hours skywatch over at my seat at Migrant Alley to make the list more respectable, with flyovers from HERRING GULL, STOCK DOVE, GREY LAG GOOSE, and PIED WAGTAIL, plus a GREENFINCH, the only one seen today flew into the Grenhouse Grounds. It was good to see 6 SKYLARK alight onto one of the paddocks, where the species of the day, YELLOW WAGTAIL also dropped down to feed, first 2, then there were 5 and finally 8 were feeding together, chasing the thousands of Craneflies that were swarming on the grass.

Photo opportunities were hard to come by this morning, and those that did were distant efforts, and in poor light, here they are though!
Meadow Pipit at the Greenhouse Grounds
Kestrel on the fenceline at Migrant Alley
I tried to get a few photo's from my garden feeding station this afternoon, the light was awful, and very little visited due to persistent Sparrowhawk attacks!
BLUE TIT from my garden
GREAT TIT, also at my garden feeders

Friday, 20 September 2013

Great Black Backed Gull
Today, I had a day out to Dungeness RSPB reserve! Yes another off patch visit  :-)

Blue sky and warm sunny conditions greeted us on arrival at the reserve, but we noted the cloud out on the horizon to the NW,  which did eventually spoil the sunshine around 11:00hrs, however it soon cleared, and the sun was back by 13:00hrs  :-)

There was a notable lack of Passerines around the reserve, my garden feeding station back home would have given the place a run for its money, and it was indeed the feeding station by the visitors center and the surrounding bushes that provided a good percentage of the few passerine species seen today, with GREENFINCH, GREAT TIT, and BLUE TIT using the feeders, plus CHIFFCHAFF, ROBIN, WREN and LINNET in the scrub and bushes. Scores of HOUSE MARTINS and SAND MARTINS fed over the reserve all morning, but very few SWALLOWS were seen.

A drawback of the sunshine was finding that the views from the hides were too dazzling to see much, such was the suns reflection from the water, but a few bits and pieces were found, CORMORANT, HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, LITTLE EGRET, LAPWING COOT, MOORHEN, TUFTED DUCK, SHOVELER DUCK, TEAL, GOLDEN PLOVER and RUFF all featured.

Walking the reserve footpaths we heard YELLOW WAGTAIL, MEADOW PIPIT, and CETTIS WARBLER all calling, then scanning the lakes and ponds 4 BLACK NECKED GREBES were seen, along with the likes of RINGED PLOVER, GREAT CRESTED GREBE, WIGEON, POCHARD, MUTE SWAN, GADWALL.

A WHITETHROAT was found in the large Bramble patch outside the last hide on the trail, and as the hide was facing away from the sun, we had a sit down and a scan over the water, finding at least 8 PINTAIL, plus loads of GREYLAG and CANADA GEESE, but best of all was a GREAT WHITE EGRET that was seen well, albeit a bit distant. MARSH HARRIER hunted quite close by, and a KESTREL was also seen.

Making our way back to the car park, a LITTLE GREBE was found on one of the small ponds, and at least 9 BEARDED TITS were seen in the large phragmites bed.

After purcahsing a quantity of bird food at the visitors center, we headed off over to the Arc pits on the adjacent part of the reserve, then on to the Observatory and finally onto the beach for a look over the sea. Few species were seen that we hadn't already recorded earlier, a BLACK TAILED GODWIT was one such species though, also a PECTORAL SANDPIPER was seen, but I managed to miss that  :-(  HOBBY, HOUSE SPARROW, WHEATEAR, COMMON TERN, and a far off unidentified Skua, probably an ARCTIC SKUA brought the day list up to 58 species, which was a tiny bit disappointing for 6 hours out, but there was a real paucity of passerine species today.

The birds were mostly well too far away for any photo's, the only bird photo I took today was the poor quality GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL at the top of the page, which sat against a dazzling sea, I only decided to keep as it was the only bird image I had got!

However, a real feature of the walk around the reserve was the amount of Migrant Hawker Dragonflies that were about - scores of 'em! Also lots of Common Darter and the odd Ruddy Darter, all of which got their photo taken - and quite a few times too!
Common Darter
Common Darter
Common Darter
Ruddy Darter
Ruddy Darter
Ruddy Darter
Migrant Hawker, as you can see they were lining up for a photo!
Migrant Hawker
Migrant Hawker
This Migrant Hawker had caught a Cranefly
It began munching as I snapped away
Within a minute, the Cranefly was devoured, that was one hungry Hawker!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Grey skies and a chill in the air greeted me this morning, and although it tried to brighten up briefly just before noon, it soon clouded over with a gusty wind developing, bringing in rain for the afternoon.

There were not many birds about at all this morning, although there was quite a bit of disturbance around, so that doesn't help I suppose. I still recorded some interesting patch birds though, best of those being a WHEATEAR at Migrant Alley, one of very few to turn up this September.

At the Greenhouse Grounds, the not well manicured grounds make an excellent habitat for the birdlife, and it showed today, with GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, BULLFINCH, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP all feasting on the plentiful Elder berries, blackberries and Hawthorne berries there. Four PIED WAGTAILS mobbed a female KESTREL that was feeding on a dead rabbit, and the LITTLE OWL called loudly from the adjoining private garden. Overhead, small parties of HOUSE MARTIN and SWALLOW zipped around, with the occasional MEADOW PIPIT.

Meadow Pipits were the main attraction over on the Ashes Lane field, with a minimum of 60 seen there, they obviously enjoy the weedy part of the field, but alas, I saw it was being mowed later in the day, good old land owners, they really know how to manage the land for the wildlife - Not!

Some time was spent around the lakes and Scrubby Woods, the main Lake had a few MALLARD and a GREY HERON, the ornamental lake was disturbed, as is usually the case, and only the MOORHENS put up with the continual efforts of the owners to make it look like the picture on a chocolate box! The smaller lake had a few more Moorhen and couple more Mallard, it's not often much gets on this lake.

In the adjacent Scrubby Woods, which is owned by completely different minded people who leave the place to the wildlife, there is much more to be seen, as at the Greenhouse Grounds, the berries were attracting all four finch species, one Bullfinch in particular caught my eye, with its pinky red chest feathers partially coming through. Great Tit, Blue Tit and COAL TIT were feeding mostly on Elder berries, with them were another 3 Blackcaps, and at least 3 Chiffchaff. A NUTHATCH called, as did both a GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKER, and I could just about pick up the calls of GOLDCREST and TREECREEPER deep in the tangle of vegetation - a proper wood !

Walking back over to Migrant Alley for my daily skywatch, four GREYLAG GEESE flew over, they have become much scarcer than they were a few weeks ago. My skywatch was very dull though, the highlight was a passing MISTLE THRUSH, other than that just BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULLS were seen, along with more House Martin, Swallow and Meadow Pipits.

No photo's from this morning, as there was very poor light, but ive got a few I took from my garden last week to brighten the page.  Tomorrow I'm off out to Dungeness for the day, if i'm back in time i'll post a report about the visit there.   ;-)
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Collared Dove