As promised, the the sun was shining early this morning, I took my position by an upstairs window and waited for the sunlight to reach the Elder tree, which by 06:45 was just on the top most branches. I could here the LITTLE OWL calling from the Small Holding as I waited, but it didn't take long before the first Blackcap arrived, an immature bird, but it kept low in the shady part of the tree, then a little later a male arrived, this time it sat directly in the sunlight, on an overhanging clump of berries, I raised my camera and as I focused in..........Whoosh! The bloody SPARROWHAWK attacked! The Blackcap made its escape into a neighbours dense laurel bush, but I also missed my target! I sat for another hour, seeing another two Blackcaps, a Garden warbler, a Chiffchaff and the Lesser Whitehroat, but only the immature Blackcap gave me a view for a photo, and that was in only partial light!
Immature Blackcap, not quite the photo I wanted!
Once the light had got too strong, and the neighbouring dogs and lawn mowers started up, I left for a walk around Migrant Alley, which turned out to be a fortunate one. I didnt arrive until 09:30hrs, but once I set to scanning the fence lines I soon picked up a familiar looking blob in the distance, it was the first WHEATEAR (69) of the Autumn. I slowly and carefully made my way the 100 yards to where it sat, and took some photo's of it, the sun was a bit fierce really but I got a couple of decent shots. It then moved to a further fence line, where I watched it continually drop down to the ground to feed, then fly back up the fence, at one point it sat just 5 meters from me, allowing for another couple of photo's, until that it is a bloody dog walker came trundling past, the twat could see what I was photographing, but instead of giving me and the bird a wide berth ( there is a whole field to move into!) he just bludgeoned his way through, the Wheatear flew off into the distance!
The first Wheatear of the Autumn
I finished the circuit of Migrant Alley, seeing and hearing a couple of YELLOW WAGTAILS go over was another good find, plus a KESTREL was seen sat on a fence post. I made a short sky watch from my seat, and was surprised by how many BUZZARDS were about, every scan of the sky produced at least one, some of which were no doubt the same birds, but a group of six were watched soaring quite low. A CORMORANT and a Sparrowhawk were the only other birds of note that flew over.
I saw that the Pub Field was being harrowed, attracting a few gulls, so paid a visit. There were 30-40 HERRING GULLS and 6 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS feeding on the disturbed soil, but not the hoped for Lawping.
This Common Blue Butterfly seen in the Greenhouse Grounds as I walked through.
I also visited the lakes and Scrubby Woods briefly, but not much was seen, the KINGFISHER and the GREY HERON were on the main lake, while the Scrubby Woods had the expected species of NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, BULLFINCH, GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS etc, plus a troop of LONG TAILED TITS, not seen much of this species for August!
The Wheatear takes the months bird species tally to 69, which is still only the 8th best out of the 14 Augusts recorded so far, the previous 7 August totals have all reached or exceeded 70 species, so there is expectations that this August will do the same, but what will be the 70th species I wonder ?