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.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Dark rain clouds gathered again this morning, depositing a few showery outbreaks first thing before the skies lightened for a few hours.

It was a much more interesting visit than yesterday, my circuit of Migrant alley was brightened by the presence of yet another WHINCHAT, at least the sixth one I have recorded here this month. A BUZZARD flew over low as I watched the Whinchat, as did a two GREY WAGTAILS, they alighted in the Greenhouse Grounds where a couple of WHITETHROAT were seen and 30-40 SWALLOWS sunned themselves on the glass rooves, among them I picked out 7 SAND MARTINS and 5 HOUSE MARTINS, trouble arrived to disrupt their sun bathing though, when a HOBBY came through, putting them all to flight !

Crossing the Ashes lane Field a bit later, I watched a male KESTREL fly low over, then walking the drainage ditch there, I spied a small passerine up ahead on the barbed wire, looking through my bins I expected to find a Dunnock, but was well pleased to see yet another Whinchat! Before I had crossed the field my fourth raptor of the day came over - a SPARROWHAWK, which had it's usual Swallow escort pestering it.

A walk through the Scrubby Woods and Lake area was also a bit more productive than yesterdays visit. After bemoaning the lack of a mixed feeding flock here in yesterdays post, I found one in the Scrubby Woods, it didn't contain many birds, and was missing the usual Long tailed Tits, but at least 4 GOLDCRESTS, 2 CHIFFCHAFF, 1 BLACKCAP, 1 TREECREEPER and 4-5 each of BLUE and GREAT TIT were seen, a good beginning  :-)  The nearby lakes were not very exciting, although one of the COOT pair was seen again with the MUTE SWAN family, MOORHENS and MALLARDS.

On the way home the sun was trying to shine, making it feel warmer, so i walked along the edge of the Wet Woods in search of Dragonflies, there were a few about which included a couple of Common Darter, a Ruddy Darter and at least 7 Migrant Hawkers, which I got a few images of  ;-)

Migrant Hawker, male

Friday, 29 August 2014

A very disappointing patch visit was had this morning, when it started clear and still, but it rapidly clouded over and blustery showers developed during the visit.

It was very much back to the basic, regular bird species today, Migrant Alley was now migrant free, the Whinchats and Wheatear have moved through, just the large party of ROOKS, JACKDAWS and CARRION CROWS were left on the paddocks and sheep pasture, along with the local SWALLOWS that grow fewer each day now.

The Greenhouse Grounds provided me with just one CHIFFCHAFF and two WHITETHROAT, plus a flyover GREY WAGTAIL of note. A few LINNETS, GOLDFINCH, GREENFINCH and CHAFFINCH were also there, but they moved off once the workers arrived.

Whilst over at the lakes and Scrubby Woods the sky grey very dark and a heavy shower forced me to take shelter, once it had passed I checked the lakes, where a KINGFISHER was the best sighting, I couldn't find the Coot pair though, maybe they have moved on, they have already stayed longer than in previous years, not staying until the end of July in the past two years in which they have bred here.

The Scrubby Woods was very poor, the only summer bird seen was a single female BLACKCAP, the only scarcer woodland species heard were a TREECREEPER, a GOLDCREST and a NUTHATCH, I wonder why there are no mixed feeding flocks here this Autumn ? I have just encountered the one so far.

Once again the sky grew dark, and I decided to call it a day, seeing just a KESTREL of note as I walked home across the Ashes Lane Field.

Feeling cheated by my short patch this morning, I manged a 90 minute visit around Migrant Alley, which was still very quite out on the fields, however a skywatch did provide me with good views of a HOBBY as it hunted the Swallows. A large number of gulls took off from a field to the south of my patch, some of them crossing over my airspace, most were HERRING GULLS, but a few BLACK HEADED GULLS and at least 3 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS were also seen. To the East of me, in the distance, many Hirundines were seen, most seem to be HOUSE MARTINS all moving SW, occasionally groups birds came nearer, and two SAND MARTINS were identified eventually, plus a lone SWIFT, only 5 of the previous 12 years have a later date recorded for Swift, the median average last date is the 24th of Aug.

Hopefully the weather will be a bit kinder for the last two patch visits of the month and maybe I can find the one more species needed to equal the record August tally, or maybe even two to set a new record  ;-)

Just a couple of images for today.................

Black Headed Gull

Thursday, 28 August 2014

This morning was dull and cloudy, with a light drizzle falling, but with brighter skies promised I decided to carry out my final full patch walk of the month, it being the 81st of the year.

Right from the off it was evident that there were not many birds about, and by the end of the walk I had only found 42 species, many in just ones and two's. Migrant Alley once again produced the star species, that being a WHINCHAT, I wonder if it was one of the original 3 found earlier in the week, or a new individual ? Apart from the Whinchat though, there were no more passage migrants found, even the SWALLOWS were down to half a dozen birds.

The Greenhouse Grounds had the 2 GREY WAGTAILS present again, plus a CHIFFCHAFF and 4 WHITETHROATS of note. Crossing the Ashes Lane Fields another Whitethroat was seen along the drainage ditch, and flyovers were had by both HERRING GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL.

The Wet Woods and Small Holding had GREEN WOODPECKER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, JAY, STOCK DOVE, and NUTHATCH all calling, but none of them were seen. The Scrubby Woods were very quiet, only a couple of BLACKCAP were heard ''ticking'' and a GOLDCREST gave a short bit of song, where have all the birds gone from here?  Over on the lakes it was the same story as yesterday, with just a visiting GREY HERON joining the MUTE SWAN family, COOT pair, 11 MOORHENS and 6 MALLARDS.

Returning to my seat at Migrant Alley for the traditional end of walk sky watch, I had high hopes of finding one more species to add to the months list to bring it equal to the best ever August tally of 78 species, a flyover Lapwing would do, or maybe a rare sighting of a Marsh harrier, Osprey, or Red Kite, but none were found. I did find four raptor species though, a pair of SPARROWHAWKS went over together, a single BUZZARD was soaring up high, the male and female KESTREL were back on patch after not being seen yesterday, and a very smart HOBBY was watched as it chased the Swallows. A couple of HOUSE MARTINS were also seen, as was a lone SWIFT but that was about the best of it today.

Once again I failed to get any photo's in the poor conditions this morning, but at least I have some images from yesterdays visit to the reservoir at bough beech, although some of the subjects were a bit distant!

This Kingfisher being the most distant of those !!  :-)

The Little Egret shared the same wall

Lapwing, On its way to my patch???

Egyptian Goose - another species that might just flyover my patch this month


This Shelduck had two well grown young with it

This being one of them

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Early cloud cover dispersed during the morning, allowing some sunny intervals to develop for the mornings full patch walk.

A good tally of species was recorded, 47 in all, but none were new for the months list, I just need the one now to equal the best ever August species total of 78.

There were still a few nice species to be found at Migrant Alley today, with a single WHINCHAT remaining on the paddocks, as well as a couple of YELLOW WAGTAILS on the sheep pasture. In amongst the 30-40 SWALLOWS feeding around the sheep, there were a minimum of 8 HOUSE MARTIN and 2 SAND MARTIN. In the nearby Greenhouse Grounds 2 GREY WAGTAIL were in the drainage ditch, whilst in the surrounding scrub 2 WHITETHROAT, a BLACKCAP and 2 CHIFFCHAFF were found.

Single Yellow Wagtails were heard to fly over as I crossed an empty Ashes Lane Field, and two more were heard as I scanned the lakes, where a GREY HERON had joined the MUTE SWAN family, COOT pair, around 8 MOORHENS and 4 MALLARDS.

The Scrubby Woods was not very lively today, the Elder Trees have almost been stripped of their berries now, but another 2 Blackcaps and 2 Chiffchaffs were seen, plus BULLFINCH, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, STOCK DOVE and JAY were all heard calling.

A wander through the Wet Woods, then the Small Holding added NUTHATCH, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS, the latter habitat had good numbers of GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH and CHAFFINCH all being drawn in by my garden feeders that are not too far from there.

I finished up with a sky watch from my seat at Migrant Alley, as is usually the case after a full patch walk, and saw 3 raptor species - BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and HOBBY, but no Kestrels today. HERRING GULLS were the only gulls noted and a skein of 9 CANADA GEESE flew low over heading towards the lakes. A lone CORMORANT flew past, then 3 more did likewise a few minutes later. Not a bad visit at all  :-)

Once again I failed to get any photo's, but ive got a few images to sort through from the visit I made to Bough Beech Reservoir this afternoon, i'll post them tomorrow!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Another morning of relentless rain meant a lie in and a leisurely breakfast, but by 10:00hrs I was getting itchy feet and needed some fresh air, so I got out the waterproofs and headed off over to the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley.

It was chucking it down when I arrived at the Greenhouse Grounds and everything was obviously hiding up in the vegetation, although I did spot a WHITETHROAT snatch a blackberry before diving back into cover. The rain eased slightly as I started my circuit of Migrant Alley, where I almost immediately found 2 WHINCHATS on the fenceline, probably 2 of yesterdays 3 birds that were here. The next birds I saw were a complete surprise and most unexpected, when a pair of CURLEW (100,77) flew up from out of the sheep pasture, a fantastic species to find for my patch and the one that brings up the 100th for the year! I watched them fly off SE, calling as they did so, I felt a bit guilty at having put them up in the poor conditions, but if I hadn't, someone else would have, that makes it all the more remarkable that it was me who found them first, the rewards of getting out in the worst weather I suppose!

More good birds were to come as I continued round Migrant Alley, a WHEATEAR popped up onto a fence post and the call of YELLOW WAGTAILS alerted me to the pair that were dropping in to the sheep pasture, they stayed for about ten minutes before moving on again. The rain eased a bit more as I reached my sky watching seat, where I stopped for a scan across the sheep pasture and paddocks, finding 3 SAND MARTINS and half a dozen HOUSE MARTINS feeding with the 20-30 SWALLOWS.  I stayed for around 45 minutes longer, and saw two SWIFTS go over as well as a GREY HERON, 3 single LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, many HERRING GULLS, a HOBBY and the local KESTREL pair. Behind me in the boundary hedgerow I heard the very quiet sub-song of a WILLOW WARBLER, by now though I was wet through, but the rain had helped bring in the migrant species and kept most of the dog walkers away, it was like the migrant alley of years gone by  :-)

Obviously no photo's today in the poor weather and the blog photo folder has run dry, oh well, I've had a good run with the camera up to this point, so cant complain!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Continuous and sometimes heavy rain fell throughout today, giving little chance to get out birding. I did however clamber into my waterproof gear for a soggy 90 minute trek around Migrant Alley this morning, but in the conditions little was seen, a CHIFFCHAFF called from the Greenhouse Grounds as I passed through and I was pleased to eventually see the 3 WHINCHAT that were present yesterday, they were feeding on one of the paddocks, that alone made it a worthwhile walk  :-)

Not much left in the bog photo folder, just the Wheatear photo's I took yesterday.......

Sunday, 24 August 2014

There were long sunny spells first thing this morning with little or no wind, which made for a very pleasant patch visit.

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  :-)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

It was good to see so many finches at my garden feeders first thing this morning, with a minimum of 22 GREENFINCH, 14 GOLDFINCH and 12 CHAFFINCH devouring the sunflower hearts at an alarming rate!

My patch beckoned though and I set off out in some early morning sunshine for a walk around Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, where a few nice birds were found. The Greenhouse Grounds had a BLACKCAP, a CHIFFCHAFF and two BULLFINCH feeding in the same Elder tree, with 4 WHITETHROAT feeding in some nearby brambles.

Out on the pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, migrants were fewer than recent days, but a YELLOW WAGTAIL was seen out among the horses, with another heard, then seen flying over later in the walk. Another WHEATEAR was seen sitting on a fence line, but it didn't stay long and flew off high to the south, not to be seen again. A HOBBY flashed through, upsetting all the SWALLOWS and two KESTRELS were up hunting over the area.

Making my way across the nearby Ashes lane Fields, I watched at least 4 SAND MARTINS and 8 HOUSE MARTINS flying in amongst the Swallows, the drainage ditch that runs the length of the fields was home to another 2 Whitethroat, plus a family of DUNNOCKS.

I had a quick look around the Scrubby Woods and lakes today, but little of note was found, a Chiffchaff had found its song, as had a GOLDCREST, both NUTHATCH and TREECREEPER were heard to call, as was another Bullfinch and a Blackcap gave some quiet sub-song. The lakes were home only to the regulars today, those being the MUTE SWAN family, the COOT pair, at least a dozen MOORHEN and 2 MALLARDS.

I was soon back over at my seat at Migrant Alley, watching the sky, but it was rather quiet today, a SPARROWHAWK was seen up hunting, and 4 BUZZARDS were interacting low over the Wooded Headland to the north of the paddocks, eventually alighting in an Oak tree there. A string of HERRING GULLS went over, but apart from a few local PIED WAGTAILS, LINNETS, GOLDFINCHES, and lots more Swallows not much else was noted.

A few images from this morning.......



Common Darter

Friday, 22 August 2014

A cool and overcast morning proved to be very rewarding, with a few nice migrant species being found.

I spent the whole of the morning around the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley today, as this is where the most exciting (for my patch!) of the birds can be found at this time of year. The first nice bird I found today was the GREY WAGTAIL, it remained loyal to its favoured feeding area along a drainage ditch at the Greenhouse Grounds. Also in the Greenhouse Grounds were a CHIFFCHAFF and at least 3 WHITETHROAT.

A circuit of Migrant Alley, the first of a few made today, had me finding a LESSER WHITETHROAT in one of the battered hedgerows, plus another, or the same WHEATEAR as yesterday was sitting on a fence line, with which it shared 50 plus SWALLOWS with.  I scanned the paddocks and found at least 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS feeding among the horses, it was difficult to tell exactly how many as they kept interacting with the Swallows and the dozen PIED WAGTAILS that were also out there.

Sitting at my sky watching seat, I scanned round the fences again and was very pleased to see a WHINCHAT had dropped in, what fantastic little birds these are, one of my favourites, and my second one this Autumn, so i've been well spoiled now  :-)  The Swallows were up and feeding later in the morning, and I picked out at least 2 SAND MARTIN with them. Around 30 STARLINGS joined the throng of birds out on the sheep pasture, then a flock of 15 - 20 LINNETS flew in briefly before moving into the Greenhouse Grounds. A LITTLE OWL called from the Greenhouse Copse, and 2 CORMORANTS flew over during one of my sky watching sessions, which in all gave me four raptor species, those being KESTREL, SPAROWHAWK, BUZZARD and HOBBY. By 11:00hrs the action had all fizzled out, most of the birds moved on, some due to the disturbance from dog walkers and stable girls tending to the horses, but while it lasted it was a fantastic mornings birding for my patch, just about as good as it gets here  ;-)

I left the camera at home today, as the light was poor first thing, but I have got a few images of the Migrant Hawker Dragonfly I took on Wednesday still to post.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

As in recent mornings the day started clear and bright, but a little cool, with cloud cover increasing throughout the day.

The Greenhouse Grounds were much less busy than yesterday first thing this morning, a single CHIFFCHAFF, 3 - 4 WHITETHROAT and a gathering of SWALLOWS were the only summer birds noted there, however it was good to also see the BULLFINCH family again, plus a few LINNETS and PIED WAGTAILS.

The circuit of the paddocks and sheep pasture at Migrant Alley was productive, as once again a WHEATEAR was seen on the fence line, and a YELLOW WAGTAIL was on the paddock amongst the horses, two more singles were heard to fly over as well. Half way round, I looked skywards to see a pair of HOBBIES, they gained a bit of height, then dived down towards the Swallow gathering over at the Greenhouse Grounds, flushing them all in panic!

BLUE TIT feeding on blackberries at the Greenhouse Grounds

Yet another Wheatear at Migrant Alley, i've had a good August passage from them so far

Crossing the Ashes Lane Fields I saw both SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL fly past, and found another two Whitethroats along the well vegetated drainage ditch there. Not much was happening around the Scrubby Woods and Lake area today, the first BLACKCAPS of the day were seen, plus another Whitethroat and another 2 Chiffchaffs. Few of the scarcer woodland species were seen, just TREEPREEPER and NUTHATCH were found. On the lakes, only a GREY HERON had joined the MUTE SWAN family and COOT pair, 14 MOORHEN were also present as were 4 MALLARD.
Grey Heron on the small lake
I made my way back over to my seat for a mid morning sky watch, where I saw the fourth raptor species for the day, which was COMMON BUZZARD, 2 circled low over the paddocks. A few HOUSE MARTIN went through, with them were 4 SAND MARTINS. Another 2 YELLOW WAGTAILS were heard going over, but that was it for migrant species, the rest of the watch was only notable for the long string of HERRING GULLS that passed by, which had 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS and 4 BLACK HEADED GULLS with them.

Later in the day I had a 90 minute visit to Bough Beech Reservoir, a very pleasant change of scenery and bird species was had, the best of those being a BLACK TAILED GODWIT, half a dozen GREEN SANDPIPERS, with a similar number of COMMON SANDPIPERS, 2 SNIPE, plus a few LITTLE EGRETS, lots of LAPWINGS were loafing around on the waters edge. SAND MARTIN and COMMON BUZZARD were notable flyovers.

'Loafing' Lapwing

Green Sandpiper, a bit distant but you can make it out!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

It was chilly this morning under a clear sky, but it soon warmed up as the sun rose higher.

As I walked through the Greenhouse Grounds first thing this morning, the only birds that caught my interest were 3-4 WHITETHROAT and a KESTREL that sat up on one of the greenhouse rooves. I crossed into Migrant Alley and was very pleased to see 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS feeding around the horses on one of the paddocks, but not much else was out there. I completed the circular walk around Migrant Alley and walked along the boundary that joined the Greenhouse Grounds, it was here in the tall hedge that I spotted a REED WARBLER (76), another species for the August list, and a real good one to get on my patch  :-)

I re-entered the Greenhouse Grounds and in the hour it had taken me to walk a circuit of Migrant Alley the place had been transformed, it was thronging with birds! There was a feeding flock of GREENFINCH and LINNET on the floor where the scrub had been removed, about a dozen of each, these were joined by a couple of PIED WAGTAILS, a couple of ROBINS, half a dozen HOUSE SPARROWS, a SONGTHRUSH and 3 DUNNOCKS, I was suddenly aware of a scurrying bird running across the bare earth and was surprised to see a WHEATEAR! Two young GREEN WOODPECKERS flew in to join the party and nearby in the vegetation I saw CHIFFCHAFF, WILLOW WARBLER, BLACKCAP and GARDEN WARBLER plus the BULLFINCH family and around 30 GOLDFINCH feeding on the thistle heads, all this with the usual BLACKBIRD, WREN, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, and CHAFFINCH activity made for quite a spectacle  :-)

Immature Green woodpecker


I stayed around the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley for some time, always having the feeling that something else may be lurking, but nothing more showed up, and by 10:00hrs the fruit pickers turned up and the birds soon dispersed or scattered into cover. I walked up to my nearby sky watching seat, and during a 40 minute watch saw some birds of interest, including a pair of PEREGRINES that flew over low, as well as two BUZZARDS soaring, also seen were a SWIFT, a CORMORANT and a few HOUSE MARTINS feeding up with the SWALLOWS. The Wheatear seen earlier was now on the paddock fence line at Migrant Alley.

With most of the morning now gone, my visit to the woods and lakes was only brief, but I found NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, JAY, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and another single Blackcap and 2 more Chiffchaff. On the lakes a GREY HERON was seen, plus 27 CANADA GEESE which had among them a white hybrid goose, and my old mate the BARNACLE GOOSE  :-)

On the way home I stopped off at the edge of the Wet Woods to see if I could improve on my Migrant Hawker Dragonfly images, i'll post them up tomorrow, but until then, here's a few Willow warbler shots from earlier in the day.

Willow Warbler, it didn't want to smile for the camera did it!!

Nearly forgot to say............I found this huge moth on the side of my house, I think its a Large Red Underwing, it certainly showed a striking red colour on its inner wings when it flew, one for the 'Moffers' out there  :-)

Not the best image, it was bit high up