Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The cloud came and went during the last patch visit of the month, when some drizzly showers fell mid morning, but when the sun did come out it felt very warm  :-)

With this months species tally on 78, the joint best September tally of the 13 years of recording on my patch, my aim this morning was to try to find just one more new species, the most likely of those would be a Yellowhammer, they used to be on every months list!

I made a four and a half hour full patch walk and recorded 48 species, but alas, the Yellowhammer was not among them, nor was there any other new species to add to the month, so close, but no cigar!

Of the summer species recorded today, just 1 SWALLOW, 4 CHIFFCHAFF and a flock of 20+ HOUSE MARTINS were seen, hopefully some of these will stay around for next months list. The MEADOW PIPIT flock at Migrant Alley had reduced in size, 20-30 were present today, 12 LINNETS and around 50 STARLINGS were also on the sheep pasture and paddocks there.

A LITTLE OWL was heard to call from a large garden next to the Ashes Lane Field, where a flock of LONG TAILED TITS moved along the hedgerow bordering the Pub Field, 2 of todays Chiffchaff being among them.

The Wet Woods, Scrubby Woods and lakes provided most of the species seen today, the best of those being GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS, JAY, STOCK DOVE, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, MISTLETHRUSH, SONGTHRUSH, Chifchaff and KINGFISHER.

I arrived at Migrant Alley for my end of visit sky watch, but before taking my seat I scanned the fence lines and hedgerows, where I was elated to find a pair of STONECHATS! They weren't there earlier! Having this species take this Septembers list to an all time high would have been just perfect, they are so seldom seen here, but i'd already seen the one on the 22nd  :-)

My sky watch had a few bits and pieces to be enjoyed, with the already mentioned Swallow and House Matrins, I saw a few SKYLARKS flying SW, a GREY WAGTAIL flyover and alight in the Greenhouse Grounds, as has at least one done all month, three gull species were seen, BLACK HEADED, LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULL, while a single BUZZARD and a single KESTREL represented the raptors today.

The male of the Stonechat pair at Migrant alley today. It would great to have them stay for the October list!

Not much else for the camera out on my patch today though, but yet again this afternoon a SPARROWHAWK gave me good views in my garden, so I just had to take another few images!

Here's a close up of the businesses end !

Monday, 29 September 2014

A totally different morning from yesterday, with dense fog shrouding the area for much of the early morning, some light showery rain fell making it feel very Autumnal.

The fog prevented much being seen at all as I walked Migrant Alley at 06:45hrs, the MEADOW PIPITS could be heard calling out on the sheep pasture, but I only actually saw a dozen or so, the only other noteworthy bird seen was a CHIFFCHAFF at the Greenhouse Grounds, so I begrudgingly headed off for a cup up tea and a bite to eat whilst the fog cleared.

By 08:30hrs most of the fog had lifted, but it remained grey and dull, with visibility no better than 500 meters. I headed off over to the lakes via the Small Holding, where I again found the mixed feeding flock containing LONG TAILED, BLUE and GREAT TITS, CHAFINCH, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, and GOLDCREST as well as another 2 Chiffchaff, whilst watching them I heard a LITTLE OWL call from nearby.

I had my usual scan of the lakes, firstly the ornamental lake, where the MUTE SWAN family, lone COOT and a dozen MOORHENS were all present - as usual, the small lake had a three more Mallards, plus a KINGFISHER flew across it. I checked the main lake last, reaching one of the few positions that allows views through the bankside trees and across the water, another 4 pairs of Mallard were seen, but with them was a real surprise..............a SHOVELER DUCK (106,77). My persistence with giving the lakes a daily scan has finally paid off with this very rare visitor ! I have only recorded Shoveler here in 3 previous years since 2002, that was in the Aprils of 2009 and 2011, plus a couple of sightings in 2012, one in September and one in October, so I was well pleased to see this immature male today, it takes the years species list to 106, the same tally that was achieved for the whole year in 2008 and is now the 6th best year of 13........so far  :-)

In the adjacent Scrubby Woods I saw a BULLFINCH pair, and a few more Goldcrests of note, but then became aware of a BLACKBIRD, Chaffinch and Nuthatch all giving agitated calls, I made my way to their calls, and found what I expected - a TAWNY OWL, it was half hidden and taking no notice whatsoever of the commotion around it, so I left it in peace  :-)

I made made my way back over to Migrant Alley for a skywatch, checking the Pub Field on the way, where I found 16 PIED WAGTAILS, 4 STOCK DOVES and 6 Meadow Pipits of note.

My sky watch was not too successful as the mist was still hanging around, but I still saw a party of 12 SKYLARK fly over, as well as a few SWALLOWS and three flocks of 30+ HOUSE MARTINS. A BUZZARD flew low over my position and a BLACKCAP was heard, then seen in the Greenhouse grounds hedgerow behind me. I could hear a GREY WAGTAIL calling in the distance, then picked it up as it flew down into the Greenhouse Grounds, then seconds later I heard a LAPWING (78) calling, I frantically scanned the sky, but for a few moments couldn't see anything, however I eventually saw it as it circled over and dropped into one of the horse paddocks..........and that's the species that brings the September list up to 78, which is equal to the best ever September species count, made back in 2009, all I need now is to find a Yellowhammer on the last visit of the month tomorrow!

The camera stayed at home today, the light was just too poor for photo's. So its a couple of images from my garden to brighten the post, I took these over the weekend.

Long Tailed Tit


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Once the early mist cleared, today turned out to be sunny and warm, a real bonus day considering it's late September  :-)

I made a full patch walk this morning, the five hours bringing in a very healthy 51 species, although nothing too exciting was seen, and I failed to add any new species to the months list.

The MEADOW PIPITS are still on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, though maybe a little fewer than of late, certainly more than 60 were seen early in the walk, also, five SWALLOWS flew over, the only ones recorded today, the only other birds of note here were 5 LINNETS. A BLACKCAP was in the Greenhouse Grounds, the first i've seen for a week, it was with 2 CHIFFCHAFFS, one of the GREY WAGTAILS also dropped in whilst I was there. The Greenhouse Copse had a LITTLE OWL half hidden amongst branches of a tree and as I photographed what I could of it, a MISTLETHRUSH flew over calling.

Little Owl

I headed for the Scrubby Woods and Lake area, via the Pub Field and Ashes lane Fields, the Pub Fields looks to have been sewn with Wheat now, on it were a few PIED WAGTAILS, a couple of STOCK DOVES and 4 more Meadow Pipits. The Ashes Lane Fields were mostly devoid of birds, except for MAGPIES and CARRION CROWS, but this female PHEASANT was on the edge of the field where it meets the Wet Woods,.........

Well camouflaged female Pheasant, I took a snap and walked off, leaving her where she was  :-)

In the Scrubby Woods I found of note, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, JAY, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, another 2 Chiffchaffs and more GREAT and BLUE TITS than of late. The adjacent lakes were disturbed by fisherman again, just the normal stuff there, but a KINGFISHER did fly across the main lake, and a pair of CANADA GEESE dropped in for a few minutes.

The Wet Woods, which has now almost completely dried out, had a few MOORHEN scampering around, plus the usual WRENS, ROBINS, DUNNOCKS, BLACKBIRDS were also seen there. Moving on to the Small Holding another Little Owl called, a few CHAFFINCH and GOLDFINCH were found, then I met up with a mixed feeding flock, containing LONG TAILED TITS, Blue Tits, Great Tits, two more Chiffchaffs, Goldcrest and another Coal Tit, the only SONGTHRUSH of the day was also found nearby.

My last action of the day was to partake in a sky watch from my seat at Migrant Alley, which turned out to be a bit of a BUZZARD watch! No fewer than 10 were seen soaring up together, other sightings of two's, three's and four's were presumed to be the same birds, but who knows! The KESTREL pair were seen, as were the SPARROWHAWK pair, a REED BUNTING called as it went over, and lots of HERRING GULLS and BLACK HEADED GULLS flew past, I was sure I heard a Yellow Wagtail too, but had to dismiss it as I couldn't be sure, the reason being the Meadow Pipits were all flushed up and were also calling loudly!

Talking of Meadow Pipits, I got a few nice images of one to brighten the post today  :-)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

This morning it was dull and overcast, without a breath of wind, ideal for spotting and hearing flyovers!

They were a few flyovers too, I saw and heard both REED BUNTING and YELLOW WAGTAIL go over as I walked a circuit of Migrant Alley, where the 100+ MEADOW PIPITS were on the sheep pasture. A GREY WAGTAIL also flew over calling, dropping down into the Greenhouse Grounds eventually, the skein of 10 CANADA GEESE, then a pair of CORMORANTS were a bit easier to pick out against the grey sky.

A CHIFFCHAFF sang from the hedgerow at the Pub Field, it was joined by a few CHAFFINCH and HOUSE SPARROWS. Three BLACK HEADED GULLS flew over the Ashes Lane Field, as did a HERRING GULL, but nothing was on the drainage ditch fence line today.

The Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods were given a good searching, in particular I gave a good look at the GOLDRESTS that I found, just in case one was a Firecrest! TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, JAY, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS, BULLFINCH and two more Chiffchaffs were all found.

The lakes were again their usual quiet self, but 5 MALLARDS had at least joined the MUTE SWAN family, COOT and MOORHENS today!

I spent 2 hours back on my seat at Migrant Alley, watching the sky and listening, as usual I found KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK easily enough, but it wasn't until almost mid day that I recorded BUZZARD, two of which flew over the Wet Woods. Small parties of HOUSE MARTINS and SWALLOWS flew over and SKYLARKS were on the move, with 3, 12 and another 3 seen flying NW. A LITTLE OWL called from the Greenhouse Copse, and a Goldcrest was calling from the hedgerow of the Greenhouse Grounds behind my seat, which I checked out just in case  :-)

With the lack of light this morning, my camera stayed at home, but whilst I was watching my garden this afternoon hoping for the Firecrest to return, which it didn't, I had another close encounter with the Sparrowhawk, so I had to get some sort of image of it, despite the light  :-)  I also noted two Goldcrest and two Chiffchaffs around the place.



Friday, 26 September 2014

It seemed to take ages for the sun to come up this morning, and when it did the sky was overcast and grey.

I spent 3 hours out, finding a few bits and pieces of interest, the MEADOW PIPIT flock at Migrant Alley was again very active and when a SPARROWHAWK flew over the sheep pasture low and slow, I was able to give an estimate of their numbers, which had increased from the recent days count of 50 -60 to over 100! A STARLING flock was also present, around 150 were on the adjacent paddocks, but only a dozen LINNETS were seen with them. Scores of BLACK HEADED GULLS flew over early on, as did smaller numbers of HERRING GULL, normally its the other way round at this time of year.

Two GREY WAGTAILS were back at the Greenhouse Grounds, with another one seen over at the Scrubby Woods, where it was still very quiet birdwise, jus a family of BULLFINCHES, a couple of CHIFFCHAFF and 3 -4 GOLDCRESTS were of note today. The lakes proved very disappointing again, not even a Mallard was with the usual MUTE SWANS, COOT and MOORHEN  :-(

I was eager to get back over to my seat at Migrant Alley for a sky watch, as this is where I am most likely to find something new for my months list, the most likely species being flyover Yellowhammer, Lapwing or maybe the Peregrine, but in the 90 minutes I was there I didn't find anything to add to the September list. There was plenty to observe though, it was god to see a flock of 17 MISTLETHRUSH stop of briefly at the Greenhouse Grounds, also small groups of both SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS continue to pass through. The 3 raptor species were easily found, the KESTREL pair giving prolonged views as they hunted, another Sparrowhawk flushed up the Meadow Pipits again, and there is nearly always a BUZZARD somewhere in the sky nowadays! A CORMORANT flew high over, plus, more unusually a NUTHATCH flew over and dropped into the Greenhouse Copse.

This afternoon, as I ate my sandwiches on my garden seat, I spied a small bird up in the leylandi type tree that overhangs the bottom of my garden, I assumed it was a Goldcrest, but checked it through my bins, just as well I did, as it turned out to be a fantastic little FIRECREST (105,76), unbelievably this is the third occasion I have recorded Firecrest in my garden, I had a visit from one back in 2006 and 2010, what a treat!!  So I got a new tick for the month after all today, as well as a year tick :-) September has been a good month in my garden this year, with a record 28 species visiting this month, that's the second best monthly tally ever, only being surpassed by the very cold and snowy December of 2010. Ive seen 22 species in the garden over the past 6 days alone, but House Sparrow isn't among them!

In the dismal light today I failed to get any photo's, especially of that Firecrest! I have saved a few images taken over the past few days though........mainly the Nuthatch!

Look out for that Sparrowhawk!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

High cloud made the early sunshine very hazy at times this morning, but it was still very pleasant out for my 3 hour patch visit.

The MEADOW PIPIT flock are still using the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, despite the attentions of two SPARROWHAWKS that were chasing them around, only 4 LINNETS were seen on the adjacent paddocks though.

Meadow Pipit at Migrant Alley,

I was present at the Greenhouse Grounds when the automatic windows opened on the greenhouses, releasing the 15-20 PIED WAGTAILS that roost in them, they were straight away chased by the Sparrowhawks! I stayed a while to chat to the foreman, as we chatted, I heard a YELLOW WAGTAIL fly over, then a GREY WAGTAIL dropped in, saw us, then flew off again!

The KESTREL pair were hunting out on the Ashes Lane Fields this morning, where I also saw a BUZZARD fly out of a lone Oak tree that's there, not surprising not much else was about!

On the Lakes, there was a GREY HERON and a KINGFISHER seen, other than those it was down to checking the MUTE SWAN family, the lone COOT, half a dozen MALLARDS and dozen MOORHENS, Oh for a proper set of lakes ! Whilst there I saw two groups of 6 - 8 SWALLOWS fly over.

Checking the Scrubby Woods I found the only two CHIFFCHAFFS of the day, plus a few singing GOLDCRESTS, a COAL TIT and a NUTHATCH called, while unusually, a pair of BULLFINCH gave me some good binocular views   :-)

An hours sky watching from my seat at Migrant Alley was not too productive, I was hoping for my first Yellowhammer of the month to fly over, or maybe a Peregrine to add to the months list, but none were seen. I did see 4 more Buzzards up together, plus more sightings of both the Kestrels and the SPARROWHAWKS. A few HERRING GULLS flew over, as did a pair of CORMORANTS, also a few more Swallows flew through, but only in one's and two's. It was good to hear a few calling SKYLARKS as they passed through, groups of 15, 6 and 3 flew over heading SW.

Immature Herring Gull

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

After some overnight rain, the morning commenced mostly cloudy, but the odd sunny spell was enjoyed too, by late morning a heavy, thundery shower brought things to premature end.

The most notable occurrence of this morning was the passage of both SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN, many hundreds were watched flying SW over Migrant Alley as they winged their way back to Africa. The flock of MEADOW PIPITS remained feeding in the sheep pasture, if anything there was an increase in numbers today, with 50 - 60 being seen, on the other hand, the LINNETS had dropped in number, only 22 were seen.

Over at the Scrubby Woods and lake area it was all a bit quiet really, however the star sighting for the morning was seen, when a TAWNY OWL broke cover as I passed by, giving me a brief, but good flight view. Of the scarcer woodland species, only the NUTHATCH was noted, and the only CHIFFCHAFFS were also seen here with two birds giving a bit of song. On the water, there was some company for the regular MUTE SWANS, COOT, MALLARDS and MOORHENS, in the form of a drake MANDARIN DUCK and a KINGFISHER  :-)

My sky watch back over at Migrant Alley didn't last more than an hour, as the thundery shower brought it to an end, but in that time I saw the three local raptor species - BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL, as well as a lone CORMORANT, I also continued to watch the Swallows and House Martins passing through.

This afternoon, once the sporadic sunshine had moved round to fill my garden, I attempted to get some garden bird images to brighten the blog, but the Sparrowhawk was a real pain, repeated attempts were made by it to get a finch dinner, which meant little else was coming into my garden! At one point the Sprawk was chasing a GREAT TIT around, just 2-3 meters from me ( I was in my hide, A.K.A my shed!) It alighted on one of my perches just 4 meters from me, so close I couldn't get the whole bird in the frame, I got a shot away, before it quickly sped off after the Great Tit!

Sparrowhawk. I should have focused on its eye, not its shoulder!

You'll be glad to hear, the Great Tit got away :-)

This scruffy, half moulted STARLING was about it for the camera, apart from a few Nuthatch images, i'll post them tomorrow  :-)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Despite the fog early this morning, I decided to carry out a full patch walk, which produced a bit of a disappointing 42 species for the 5 hour visit, but that was more due to the fog than anything  :-)

I didn't find any exciting passage migrant species, nor did I add anything to the months list, which after yesterdays Stonechat has moved into the second best September tally, and just 3 species off the record September tally of 78, I still hope to find a Yellowhammer for the month, and maybe the feral Barnacle Goose, the Peregrine might just show up at some point too  :-)

Anyway back to this morning, where I was scratching around a bit really, the 40-50 MEADOW PIPITS were again seen at Migrant Alley, but only a dozen or so LINNETS were present. A pair of SPARROWHAWKS sat on the Greenhouses, they were frustrated by the fact that the PIED WAGTAILS were just out of reach, behind the glass, the automatic windows hadn't opened at that time.

Now that the Maize has been cut, the birds have cleared out of the Pub Field, just a few CHAFFINCH and HOUSE SPARROWS picked over the old cobs that were left. The Stonechat in the Ashes Lane Field had moved on also, but there was a BUZZARD seen sitting on a fence post .

A CHIFFCHAFF sang in the Scrubby Woods, but of the scarcer woodland species only GOLDCREST, LONG TAILED TIT and NUTHATCH were found. There was nothing visiting the MUTE SWAN family, COOT, MALLARDS and MOORHENS on the lakes today.

A LITTLE OWL called from the Small Holding, where plenty of BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, Chaffinch, WREN, ROBIN, and DUNNOCK were also seen, along with the GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS.

My end of visit sky watch from my seat at Migrant Alley proved to be the more interesting part of the visit, I watched a procession of SWALLOWS go over, some just on there own, others in two's and three's, with a couple of parties of 10 plus. One small band of HOUSE MARTINS also flew south, and a a pair of YELLOW WAGTAILS dropped into the sheep pasture to join the Meadow Pipits. Seven SKYLARKS called as they went past, and a couple of CORMORANTS put in a flypast. HERRING GULLS and BLACK HEADED GULLS continually flew over, plus I again saw a flock of JAYS, not the nine of yesterday, just 5 today. behind me on the Greenhouse Roof the Sparrowhawk pair had been replaced by the KESTREL pair!

Meadow Pipit

Monday, 22 September 2014

High, thin cloud made the sunshine a bit milky this morning, when it felt much cooler than recent mornings.

My early circuit of Migrant Alley was only notable for the number of MEADOW PIPITS counted there, in all there were 46 lined up on a fence line, but only one allowed a distant photo!

Meadow Pipit

Walking back through the Greenhouse Grounds, the two GREY WAGTAILS that have frequented here all month were back again, I wonder how long they will be around for ?

The edge of the Maize crop was walked, but only 3 CHIFFCHAFFS were found of note, so I made my way over to the Lakes and Scrubby Woods, there wasn't much to excite here, just the usual species on the lakes, a MISTLETHRUSH flew over whilst I was there, nice to see one now and again! Around 40 GOLDFINCHES were seen in the Scrubby Woods, but just one BULLFINCH, a superb male, it was the only one of the scarcer woodland species recorded today. Just as I was leaving, 6 SWALLOWS flew over.

I was heading back to my seat at Migrant Alley for a sky watch, when I saw that the Maize in the Pub Field was being cut, so I made my way across to there instead, you never know what might be flushed out when they harvest it!  I checked the drainage ditch fence line at the Ashes Lane Field as I went, but I wasn't really expecting what I found..............there, on the wire, was my first STONECHAT (104,75) of the year, fantastic!  :-)

It didn't allow close approach, so I just took a couple of distant shots, I didn't want to upset it, hopefully it may stay for a few days  :-)

What a brilliant little bird, a great find on my patch!

I spent the next three hours watching the Maize crop being harvested, I was hopeful of a Sedge or Reed Warbler being flushed out, as has happened in past years, but this year it was a bit disappointing, I only saw 5 -10 Chiffchaffs, loads of DUNNOCKS, a dozen CHAFFINCH, at least another 15 Meadow Pipits, 8 BLACKBIRDS, 1 SONGTHRUSH and 2 PHEASANTS. I also only saw two Foxes this year, normally there are five or six to be seen. As I watched the cropping taking place, I had my eye on the sky, seeing 3 BUZZARDS, 2 SPARROWHAWKS and a KESTREL, as well as a CORMORANT, a few more Swallows and a party of 13 HOUSE MARTINS. A flock of 9 JAYS was interesting to see, maybe it will be another invasion year for this species! As the field was cut, a tractor was tilling the stubbles left on the field, attracting 40-50 HERRING GULLS, 14 BLACK HEADED GULLS and a lone LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

It was much fresher than of late this morning, with a moderate northerly wind breaking up the early cloud cover to give some sunny intervals.

 This BUZZARD flew over early in the walk

I carried out a 'full patch walk'' and in the 4 and a half hours it took, I found 47 bird species, but that didn't include Songthrush, Treecreeper, Coal Tit or Long Tailed Tit that I know were out there somewhere!

Out on the pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley the LINNET flock had dwindled slighly, 50 - 60 were seen, the STARLING flock was smaller too, with around 40 - 50 birds present. Three GREEN WOODPECKERS were also seen, as were at least 8 MEADOW PIPITS, plus the mixed flock of ROOKS, CARRION CROWS, JACKDAWS and the odd MAGPIE.

Summer species continue to dwindle, with just one BLACKCAP being found, that was at the edge of the Maize crop in the Pub Field, where 4 of todays 7 CHIFFCHAFFS were also found, a PHEASANT was recorded here too, it's been a while since I've seen one! SWALLOWS zipped through on the wind in two's and three's, as did the only other summer visitor seen today, a YELLOW WAGTAIL.

Whilst over at the Lakes ticking off the regulars of MUTE SWAN, MALLARD, COOT and MOORHEN, a KINGFISHER was seen flying low over the main lake, then a few minutes later the raucous call of a RING NECKED PARAKEET (74) was heard, I picked it up as it headed West, soon flying out of view,  a bit of a dubious months addition, but i'll take it  :-)

BULLFINCH, COAL TIT, NUTHATCH, JAY, STOCK DOVE and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were noted in the Scrubby Woods today, while the Small Holding held plenty of WREN, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, BLACKBIRD, CHAFFINCH, GOLDFINCH and a few GREENFINCH, most of these finches are here due to my garden feeders only 40 meters away as the finch flies  :-)

Few flyover species were added today, the already mentioned Buzzard, Swallows and Yellow Wagtail were joined by the likes of HERRING GULL, GREY HERON, the KESTREL pair, a SPARROWHAWK, a skein of  8 CANADA GEESE, then a skein of 30-40 GREYLAG GEESE, a few more Meadow Pipits, a GREY WAGTAIL that dropped into the Greenhouse Grounds and a party of 4 CORMORANT were it for the day  :-)

A pre Sunday dinner photo session in my garden was a bit hit and miss, but a couple of images were taken  :-)




Saturday, 20 September 2014

Low cloud, mist and drizzle awaited me this morning, but the visit was brightened as I walked a circuit of Migrant Alley, when I heard a wader calling in the distance, unsure of its identity I scanned the sky and soon picked out my first GOLDEN PLOVER (103, 72) of the year, a real bonus bird for the year list and one never recorded in any September before  :-)  Only ten minutes later I heard the call of another wader, this one was unmistakable, a SNIPE (73), it flew directly over me, blimey two wader species in a day! A real rare occurrence on my patch! On the paddocks and sheep pasture there were again around 150 LINNETS, plus around 200 STARLINGS, a few MEADOW PIPITS flew over, 2-3 dropping into the sheep pasture, I also saw at least 2 REED BUNTINGS fly over, calling as they went.

Walking the edge of the Maize crop at the Pub Field, it again produced a minimum of 5 CHIFFCHAFF, but there was no sign of a Blackcap today, in fact no other warbler species were seen this morning.

Over at the Scrubby Woods there seemed to have been an influx of GOLDCRESTS, I kept hearing them call and despite there diminutive size, I watched more than once as they chased other birds around, one such bird was a COAL TIT, another a TREECREEPER  :-)  I also found LONG TAILED TIT, NUTHATCH, and BULLFINCH as I wandered through the woods.

A look over the lakes was a disappointment, nothing but the usual species were found, however, I did see a LITTLE EGRET fly over, the second this month and just the third this year.

I finished the visit with a sky watch back over at Migrant Alley, but first had another look through the Greenhouse Grounds, where another 2 Chiffchaffs and the GREY WAGTAIL pair had turned up. My sky watch didn't add too much more excitement to the morning, but SPARROWHAWK, BUZZARD and the KESTREL pair were all watched, and a LITTLE OWL was heard to call from the Greenhouse Copse.

In the very dismal light today it was useless to try and get any photo's and it was frustrating later this afternoon when I had good views of Treecreeper, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest in my garden, I also had some very close views of the Sparrowhawk, I did try to get an image or two, but at shutter speeds of less than 100th of a second, they just turned out crap!! All I have to brighten the post today are a couple of Dunnock images I took from my garden yesterday.


Ive been accused of ''gluing'' down the birds to get a good image, thats not true, although as you can see in the above image I do screw them down!!  :-)  :-)

Friday, 19 September 2014

Fog and mist plagued the patch visit early this morning, but it wasn't so dense to obscure a nice WHEATEAR sitting on the paddock fencing at Migrant Alley, or the 50 - 60 LINNETS and a dozen MEADOW PIPITS that were on one of the paddocks.

The edge of the maize crop again had the only BLACKCAP of the visit present, along with at least 5 CHIFFCHAFFS, plus a mix of CHAFFINCH, GOLDFINCH, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, SONGTHRUSH and BLACKBIRD. As I crossed into the Ashes Lane Field a flock of around 10 LONG TAILED TITS were seen at the run off pool area, with them were 2 more Chiffchaffs and a few BLUE and GREAT TITS.

The Scrubby Woods was dull and wet after the first rain of the month fell overnight, COAL TIT, and GOLDCREST sang, and 2 BULLFINCH sat on an overhead cable, quickly dropping back down to cover as I approached, but they were the only scarcer woodland species seen today. There was nothing at all to get excited about on the lakes, just the usual MUTE SWAN, COOT and MOORHENS, not even a Mallard today!

The fog and mist lifted a little for my sky watch, which produced flyovers from BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK, a few HERRING GULLS, a MISTLETHRUSH and a GREY WAGTAIL. Three KESTRELS chased around over the sheep pasture, that after not seeing any yesterday! A group of 4, then 8 SWALLOWS were noted flying purposely SW, not many left now. The flock of 50-60 Linnets that were seen earlier in the morning had at least doubled in size, I estimated at least 150 birds were now on the paddocks, the biggest flock ive ever seen here!

Early this afternoon I took my 100mm macro lens out to try and get some Dragonfly images over at the Greenhouse Grounds, upon arriving though, I was stopped in my tracks when I saw a couple of Weasels playing around in the hedgerow. I watched for a few minutes, noting that they were using the same holes and runs, so placed myself as close as I dared to one of the holes, then waited! Before long, a head popped out of the hole, cautiously at first, but the Weasel and then its probable sibling eventually came out and scampered around. I got a few shots of them, they were very curious and kept coming up to investigate the shutter sound, they were so quick to scamper back into there holes when the shutter operated that I didn't get two consecutive shots, that despite the camera firing 8 frames per second! Now if I had only brought my 400mm lens......Doh!

Weasel - look left

 Look right

All clear, then charge into cover !

A quick check all is well again...

Ready to go....

Pose for the camera.....

A quick Meercat impression....then off they went. One of the best 90 minutes I have had  :-)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Another grey and misty start to the day, it did however brighten up later, too late for my full patch walk though!

Among the 48 species I recorded today, were some nice birds  - for my patch  :-)  A couple of GREY WAGTAILS that flew from the Greenhouse Grounds first thing were seen and heard a few times before my walk was finished, the YELLOW WAGTAIL passage just about continues, with a single bird flying over Migrant Alley, where I also found another WHINCHAT, superb birds, I cant get enough of them!

At least 5 CHIFFCHAFFS were feeding along the edge of the Maize crop at the Pub Field, with them were a few HOUSE SPARROWS, CHAFFINCHES and my only BLACKCAP of the day.  Crossing the Ashes Lane Field, three MEADOW PIPITS flew up and a pair of MISTLE THRUSHES were seen flying over.

There were plenty of birds around the Scrubby Woods area, mainly Chaffinches, GOLDFINCHES, BLUE TITS, GREAT TITS, ROBINS, DUNNOCKS, and BLACKBIRDS, along with a couple of SONGTHRUSH and a lone GREENFINCH. Of the scarcer woodland species, I saw GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH and JAY, plus I heard NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, and STOCK DOVE, but I couldn't locate a Treecreeper or Long Tailed Tit ( half a dozen of the latter were seen in my garden this afternoon though, first time this Autumn)

Nothing exciting was found on the Lakes, where just one MALLARD and a CANADA GOOSE was on the Main Lake, nothing at all was on the small lake and the ornamental lake had the usual MUTE SWAN family, COOT and a dozen MOORHENS. A pair of CORMORANTS flew over whilst I was there, choosing not to drop in to fish today though.

Walking back to get to my sky watching seat at Migrant Alley, through the Wet Woods, then the Small Holding, I picked up GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS as well as COLLARED DOVE that I hadn't yet found for the morning.

My sky watch today proved a quite a good one, with the likes of GREY HERON, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, HERRING GULL, SPARROWHAWK, BUZZARD, two groups of 3 SWALLOWS and a new species for the month too..........a REED BUNTING (71) it flew over quite low, calling as it did so, pity they never seem to stop here  :-(

This afternoon I thought I'd try and get some photo's for the blog as the sun had come out now, but the Sparrowhawk had different intentions, several attempts were made at making a meal of one of the finches, but it didn't succeed. Not much came to the feeders after that, so I spent some time re arranging my photographic perches. An hour later I settled down to try again, but only got a few shots, but at least I have now got a few nice photographic perches for the birds to sit, I'm ready for the coming Autumn  :-)


GREAT TIT. I have now removed the annoying stick in the background  ;-)

Collared Dove

Amazing how a little bit of difference in the light gives a totally different image, I love the eyes on these birds though.