To avoid the worst of the heat, I set off out at a little before six this morning, the months first full patch walk taking me five hours in all, yielding 44 species. The challenge for the month will be to beat the best July tally of 71, that was achieved last year, but to get to the average total for the previous 5 years, of 66 species, will be difficult enough I feel.
Here's what I saw this morning then, in order of sighting........
A WREN was heard singing as I left the house and SWALLOWS were already zooming around above me, many of them juveniles, JACKDAW, GREENFINCH, HOUSE SPARROW, STARLING, ROBIN, GOLDFINCH, WOODPIGEON, CHAFFINCH and DUNNOCK were all seen as I walked the 200 meters to the Greenhouse Grounds. Here I found the WHITETHROAT, but still no sign of fledged young from them, MAGPIE, PIED WAGTAIL, GOLDCREST, BLUE TIT, BLACKBIRD, GREAT TIT and just the adult female KESTREL went onto the months list.
A circuit of Migrant Alley was rather quiet, but then there isn't much habitat here, the six GREYLAG GEESE were in the sheep pasture for the third day running, sharing it with the ROOKS and CARRION CROWS. The Wooded Headland to the north of the paddocks had a CHIFFCHAFF singing from it, then as I moved on, four BLACK HEADED GULLS flew over, a sign that things are now on the move, two were immature birds. I checked the Greenhouse Copse, which delighted me with the song of a YELLOWHAMMER, a scarce bird here now in any month, also singing was a BLACKCAP, plus a NUTHATCH called, not a place I usually encounter this species, another sign that the young birds are dispersing.
Heading off along High House Lane, I heard the SKYLARKS singing over the bean crop on Bustard Hill, and picked up my first LINNETS of the month, which were with a mixed flock of Chaffinch, goldfinch, and Greenfinch, the whole company only numbering 15 to 20 birds though. A COLLARED DOVE called from an adjacent house roof, at which point I headed off home for a quick drink as the temperature and humidity were already soaring.
After my refreshment, I made my way through the Small Holding area, picking up STOCK DOVE, SONGTHRUSH and GREEN WOODPECKER for the months list. Into the Wet Woods, the temperature was much cooler, but the mosquitoes were a real pest! I hurried my way through, but managed to hear a MOORHEN as I went :-) I arrived at the lakes, where MALLARD and CANADA GOOSE were the only additions to the June list, then moving on to the Scrubby Woods I picked up LONG TAILED TIT, a party of 13 flew past in a long line, also COAL TIT, TREECREEPER and JAY were seen, but Bullfinch remained elusive today. Whilst resting in the shade of an Oak, the first Purple Hairstreak Butterfly of the year fluttered down to briefly drink the dew on a bramble leaf, superb little Butterlfies!
Purple Hairstreak - not the best shot, as it was so low down that even lying on my belly I couldn't get a perfect side on shot of it, shame it's wing tip is missing as well, maybe i'll get lucky another time :-)
My last patch of ''habitat'' was the Ashes Lane Fields, where a BUZZARD was seen flying low over, as is often the case, plus a HERRING GULL flew over also, the last species for the day, a the SWIFT was seen in good numbers as they hawked high in the sky for insects. As I walked home, I found an immature Emperor Dragonfly in the hedgerow very nice !
Here's my Emperor Photo's, not quite what I was after, as it prefred to settle in the shade, even the Dragons found it hot today!
Immature Emperor Dragonfly, shame it stayed in the shade.
Another shot after it flew down the hedge, alighting in an even worse position, with both strong light and shade on it, very frustrating this photography lark!!
Cropped close up
A bit closer :-)
It few off to a third position, but still in the shade, so I took a couple more shots and left it in peace
How many shades of green are on that head and thorax?!