I decided to do a full patch walk this morning and was surprised by just how many species I recorded, 47 in all, which is well above average for an October day. I visited the lakes first thing, via the Small Holding and Wet Woods, where lots of the common and regular species were encountered, however, of note, a CHIFFCHAFF was seen in the Small Holding as were a pair of STOCK DOVES.
I reached the Lakes and ticked off the MUTE SWANS, MALLARDS and MOORHENS, but I couldn't find the Coot today, a male and two MANDARIN DUCKS made up for that though. I found most of the scarcer woodland species in the Scrubby Woods and around the lake edges, including COAL TIT, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, BULLFINCH, JAY, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS, plus MISTLETHRUSH and SONGTHRUSH, there were more of the latter than in recent visits. As I was about to leave, I heard the honking of Geese, then a minute or so later 31 CANADA GEESE (61) dropped onto the main lake and the good old BARNACLE GOOSE (62) was with them, two more for the months list :-)
I walked over to the Greenhouse Grounds via the Ashes lane Field and Pub Field, noting a few HERRING GULLS and SKYLARKS flying over, as well as a dozen or so MEADOW PIPITS, but note much more of note. A circuit of Migrant Alley only had the ROOKS, JACKDAWS, CARRION CROWS, MAGPIES, WOODPIGEONS and more Meadow Pipits present, while a look in the Greenhouse Copse before sitting down for my sky watch produced the anticipated LITTLE OWL.
My 90 minute sky watch proved very eventful indeed, for not only did I see the likes of 4 soaring BUZZARD, a couple of SPARROWHAWKS, the KESTREL pair, 3 single SWALLOWS, a single HOUSE MARTIN and a couple of single CORMORANTS, I also had the very exciting sighting of a species new to my patch, when a skein of 29 BRENT GEESE (140,107,63) flew over, i've not had a patch tick since 2012, so this was very satisfying :-) The year list creeps up to 107 now, the 7th best year from the 13 recorded and just 2 off the average tally for the 5 previous years, that being my target for 2014.
I didn't have my camera with me, but they were quite high up and the light was crap as well so i'm not too fussed. I have got a few images for today's post though...........that bloody Sparrowhawk was back in my garden yesterday evening :-) The light was failing, and I was shooting directly into what there was of it, but at least it's something to look at!
As you can see, it moved from perch to perch, like it owned the place ( I suppose it does really!)