My five and a half hour visit yielded a very good tally of 49 species, with some good patch birds among them, two species were new for the months list, one of them being a year tick, plus five raptor species were seen.
A skein of 22 GREYLAG GEESE and another of 20 CANADA GEESE flew over Migrant Alley early on, where a pair of YELLOW WAGTAILS flew up from one of the paddocks, while the adjacent Greenhouse Grounds had BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, WHITETHROAT and a very lovely looking GARDEN WARBLER all feeding in a patch of Elder/Bramble, I checked the butile lined reservoir whilst there, hoping for a GREY WAGTAIL, and surprised myself when I found it, but a bigger surprise was seeing a LITTLE GREBE (98,71) sat out on the water! There isn't any fish, or anything else in the reservoir and it only had a foot of water in it, so I presume this bird was just a tired young migrant dropping in for a rest, quite something to see it here, as I have only ever seen a few Mallard, the odd Mandarin Duck and a Cormorant on the reservoir in 14 years! Little Grebe has never been recorded in any August before, so the 14 year combined August list reaches 101 :-)
Little Grebe, I could do no better with the photo! The reservoir is about 75 meters x 40 meters and is fenced off, this photo was taken from a distance of about 80 meters!
The first of the five raptor raptors was seen as I walked the Ashes Lane Fields, a HOBBY that whizzed over so close I heard the wind through its wings! Shortly after that, all the ROOKS and JACKDAWS from the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley took to the air, I suspected a Sparrowhawk had spooked them, but scanning the Sky I found raptor number two, the months first PEREGRINE (72), heading straight for me, before it veered off over the Wet Woods, fantastic! The Pub Field had 8 HERRING GULLS on it, plus a MISTLETHRUSH, only the third record this month.
The Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods were given a good looking through, but long Tailed Tit and Coal Tit avoided detection, however all the other regulars were seen, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, BULLFINCH, JAY, STOCK DOVE, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, more Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs plus all the common stuff, Finches, Tits, WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, BLACKBIRD and SONGTHRUSH. The lakes had the female MANDARIN DUCK present again of note, then as I left, raptor number three flew over, a KESTREL.
I made my way back over to my sky watching seat at Migrant Alley, on the way noting 3 BUZZARDS soaring over the Small Holding / Wet Woods, raptor number four :-) I also stopped off to photograph a rather tatty Brown Hawker Dragonfly and a Common Darter.
Brown Hawker, nearing the end of its days!
This Immature male Common Dater is only just starting its life though.
Once on my seat I had a half hour sky watch, which was pretty quiet, but the fifth raptor species for the day was seen, a SPARROWHAWK, not often I get 5 raptor species in one day! Plenty more Buzzards and Herring Gulls were also seen, plus a few SWALLOWS. Having 49 species on the list was a bit annoying, so I went back out to my seat around 14:00hrs and made the daylist up to 50 with BLACK HEADED GULL, 3 of which flew over. Nothing else new was seen, but as I sat watching the mixed Jackdaw/Rook flock on the sheep pasture, I decided to have a count up, I got to 284 before another Buzzard flew over and put them all up, I reckon there were nearly 500 there!