I spent the whole of the 5 hour visit around Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, as this is where there was much migrant action taking place this morning. A WILLOW WARBLER and a CHIFFCHAFF were seen as I passed through the Greenhouse Grounds, which also held the 3 - 4 WHITETHROATS that have spent the summer here. Good numbers of finches were present, with 8 GREENFINCH, at least a dozen GOLDFINCH, at least 6 CHAFFINCH, 2 BULLFINCH and 11 LINNETS all being found.. The PIED WAGTAILS were just exiting the greenhouses as I was there, the sun warming up their overnight roost allowing the automatic windows to open up and release them, a good two dozen flew out in their own good time :-)
Wallking Migrant Alley, I spotted a small passerine on the tip of a Hawthorn bush along the hedgerow, which as I neared, revealed itself to be a WHINCHAT, yes another, what a good August it's been for them here! I got a distant photo of it and then moved on, but it wasn't long before the sound of YELLOW WAGTAILS was heard, I picked a few out among the sheep and was trying to ascertain how many there were when the shepherd came along and flushed them up, that at least showed me their were five as I watched then fly off into the distance. Towards the end of the first circuit of Migrant Alley I spotted another passerine an the fence line, this one turned out to be a WHEATEAR, it flew off on my approach, but didn't go far, alighting further down the fence, opposite a party of 30+ SWALLOWS and 6 HOUSE MARTINS.
I decided to do another circuit of the pasture and paddocks, straight away I picked up the Whinchat, but as I watched it I saw another bird with it, another Whinchat! Two of them, superb! I watched them both for a while, following them along the hedgerow until they flew off onto a horse paddock just ahead of me, I scanned across and was amazed to see not only three WHEATEARS, but also a third Whinchat as well, Wow!! I had all six birds in close proximity, making for some great viewing :-)
Hanging around the paddocks watching the Chats from a distance, I had flyovers from a skein of 25 CANADA GEESE, a few HERRING GULLS, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and more worrying for the Chats, a SPARROWHAWK, which flew in low over the paddocks. After that, all went quiet, unsurprisingly, so I nipped off home for a snack and drink and discard my fleece.
On my return I quickly re-found the Whinchats and Wheatears - all present, and took a few distant shots of them, as I did so, I heard another Yellow Wagtail go over, more singles were heard and seen going over throughout the morning. A HOBBY was seen over the Greenhouses as I left at around noon, and another Sparrowhawk was seen chasing a Pied Wagtail low over Ashes Lane, but the Wagtail easily out maneuvered the hawk, with a little help from the mobbing Swallows!
I payed another early afternoon visit to Migrant Alley, just in case something else had dropped in, but the hoped for Redstart didn't turn up, I did see a pair of BUZZARDS go low over, and as I watched them I spotted two SWIFTS higher up, very timely, as todays date is the 12 year median average last sighting date for Swifts :-) I took some more Wheatear photo's, i'll post them tomorrow, then headed off home again, very pleased with todays sightings!
This was the first Whinchat seen this morning
This one was photographed later
I got reasonable close, 8 to 10 meters, which gave me a good chance to get a nice image
Whinchat - Superb little birds!
This Pied Wagtail showed off early this morning too :-)