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