Sunday, 31 August 2014

Long sunny spells developed after the broken cloud of early morning, and with lighter winds it felt very pleasant.

I'd made my mind up to spend the whole morning around the Greenhouse Grounds, Migrant Alley and the Ashes lane Fields today, I reckoned if I was going to get the one more new species for the month that was needed to equal the record August tally, then it would come from this part of my patch.

The day started well enough, I found two WHITETHROATS, a BLACKCAP, a CHIFFCHAFF and a GREY WAGTAIL as I entered the Greenhouse Grounds, but it got better still at Migrant Alley, as I found another 3 WHINCHATS plus a WHEATEAR on the paddocks, it really has been a good Autumn here for these two passage migrants  :-)  Another good bird to get here is YELLOW WAGTAIL, 2 flew over the sheep pasture, calling as they went, all brilliant birds to find on my patch, but not new for the month!

The 20-30 SWALLOWS started to panic about something, alarm calling frantically to warn the immature birds, the something turned out to be a HOBBY, which for the first time I can remember actually alighted on a fence rail, allowing me to get some superb images of it  ( I wish!)

A very rare occurrence - a Hobby that has actually landed on my patch, this is as close as i got before it flew off!
I watched a KESTREL alight on the apex of one of the Greenhouses, and made my way over to try and photograph it, again it was very wary, and didn't allow close approach, another distant raptor shot then!
 Female Kestrel

I made my way over to my sky watching seat, where as well as the sky I could watch the Whinchat and Wheatear as they fed along a fence rail, in front of the Greenhouse copse, at one stage I could see the 3 Whinchat, a Whitethroat and a Blackcap all together in my binocular view  ;-)

My skywatch produced a MANDARIN DUCK and a CANADA GOOSE, both headed for the Lake area, as well as many HOUSE MARTINS that were high up feeding in the blue sky. Constant fly overs from large groups of HERRING GULLS were observed, with them were the odd LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL. With virtually every scan of the sky I picked up either a Kestrel, Hobby, BUZZARD or SPARROWHAWK, the latter did as the Hobby had done earlier, so I got another distant Raptor image  :-)

Sprawk,........ the Whinchats were in the hedgerow behind it!

More circuits of the sheep pasture and paddocks were made, plus a circuit of the Ashes Lane Fields was made, where yesterdays Whinchat had moved on, but no more pasage migrants were found, I was desperately hoping for a Redstart to show up!

Back on my seat over at Migrant Alley, long scans of the fences, fields and sky were had, but nothing new was found, then at 10:30hrs, a familiar ''tseep tseep tseep'' call was heard - MEADOW PIPITS (78) !! Yes! A new species for the month, and the record August species total had been equaled, very satisfying indeed  ;-)

I stayed at Migrant Alley until just gone mid day, but the August record wasn't beaten, if only the Turtle Doves had showed up, they used to be ever present in August until last and then this year  :-(

Might as well put up another one of my distant photographic efforts, this GREEN WOODPECKER alighted 30 meters away from my seat

Some slightly closer images were obtained of the Wheatears, but the sun remained stubbornly behind a cloud first thing this morning when I was taking the photo's ( always something to moan about!)


So August ends on a high! It has been a fantastic month actually, with at least ten Whinchats, 12 Wheatears, many Sand Martins and Yellow wagtails, a Tree Pipit, a Nightingale, a Reed Warbler and a pair of Curlews all turning up at Migrant Alley, plus a Sedge Warbler and another Whinchat at the Ashes lane field.  4 species were new to any August list, those being the Tree Pipit, the Curlew, plus the Mandarin Duck and Tufted Duck. 78 Species for the month is a very good tally, not only is it equal to the best ever August total, but is the second best monthly total ever achieved, only being bettered by April 2013 which had 79 species recorded.


Marc Heath said...

A good days work Warren, nice one with the perched Hobby. Like the last Wheatear pose the best I think.

Pete Woodruff said...

Three cheers for the Meadow Pipit and the August tally.

The image of the Hobby is perfection, in that it portrays a bird more often than not seen in flight, but shows this one as a 'captured' image of a secretive creature....Brilliant Warren.

Noushka said...

Hi Warren,
Great catches here and fantastic obs!
I missed the opportunity this season to photograph the hobby in flight hunting dragonflies...
Stunning image of the kestrel, green peckie and Wheatear!

Warren Baker said...

I did take a flight shot of the Hobby, but that was truly terrible! :-)

Warren Baker said...

Hi Noushka,
It would take some doing to get a good flight shot of a Hobby, got to try though :-)