Monday, 7 September 2015

This morning, blue skies and a light NW wind greeted me as I set off for a full patch walk.

I hadn't got far along Ashes Lane, when I heard SISKINS flying overhead, but these passage birds were nothing to the goodies that lay awaiting at Migrant Alley! A first scan of the fence lines provided me with views of at least 15 SWALLOWS, with those, were at least 50 HOUSE MARTINS and 4 SAND MARTINS. I moved slowly along the fenceline, hoping for a photo of a Sand Martin or House Martin, but they were far too wary, the SWALLOWS proved a little more obliging though. During my approach, I could hear YELLOW WAGTAILS flying up out of the sheep pasture, their calls seemed everywhere, but the most birds I saw together was 6.



Looking along the fence further up, I saw first one, then two WHINCHATS, fantastic! Two Whinchats, a real pleasure to see. They were being continually dived at by the Swallows, they distracted the Whinchat, enabling me to get a bit nearer so as to get a photo....

I got a quick couple of shots off, before they sussed me and flew off into the paddock

The excitement didn't stop there though, and in the next paddock I found a WHEATEAR, it proved too flighty to approach for a photo, and flew off to the nearby hedgerow, then, incredibly, a few feet from it, a cracking male REDSTART popped up! All this time, yet more Yellow Wagtails were heard above me, Migrant Alley was providing the goods today!

I had my fill of the Redstart and Wheatear, then moved across to the Greenhouse Grounds and associated Copse, at the point the two meet is a very small bit of rough grassland, it was here that I had yet more excitement, when no less than 3 TREE PIPITS (100, 60) flew up!! The 100th species of 2015! Ive only had 2 records of Tree Pipit in the past 13 years, both single flyovers, so to get 3 on the floor on one visit is pretty spectacular for my patch! They continued to chase about the area, continually giving their distinct buzzing flight calls, I eventually got some record shots, but they were always distant and/or in the wrong light  :-(

Tree Pipit! Brilliant patch record!

Another one!

Superb patch bird

I checked out the Greenhouse Grounds and found WHITEHROAT, BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF in singles, plus a few GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, PIED WAGTAILS and a GREY WAGTAIL, plus all the time the Yellow Wagtails could be heard flying about!

I was loathe to leave, but wanted to cover the rest of my patch and so eventually moved on to finish the full patch walk, where in the wooded parts I recorded virtually all that I could expect  to see, apart from Mistlethrush, which still eludes the months list! Best of what was seen included a KINGFISHER on the lakes, where a GREY HERON also fished, plus I found a mixed feeding flock of LONG TAILED TITS, with them were small numbers of BLUE TITS, GREAT TITS, GOLDCRESTS, TREECREEPERS, and CHIFFCHAFFS.

I headed back to Migrant Alley via the Ashes Lane Fields and the Pub Field for a sky watch from my seat, not finding any more surprises on the way. My sky watch though provided views of at least 6 BUZZARDS, a SPARROWHAWK, a few HERRING GULLS and a KESTREL that fed on a mouse as it sat on the greenhouses. Of course, I also have frequent scans of the fence lines to watch the Whinchats, Wheatear, Redstart and Yellow Wagtails, all of which were still present, the Wheatear gave me a few photo's this time, ( i'll show them on a later post), however the Tree Pipits seem to have moved on though . What a fantastic morning that was! In the end I had accumulated 51 species  :-)

Oh! In all my excitement I forgot to add, I saw this Silver Washed Fritillary too, another patch rarity!  The 24th patch butterfly species of the year.

They don't come more tatty than this, but I was pleased to see it on my patch  :-)


Marc Heath said...

Days don't come along too often like that Warren, well done on some patch goodies.

Warren Baker said...

Indeed Marc,
A rare and very enjoyable day!

Phil said...

Great stuff Warren!

Derek Faulkner said...

Perhaps now you'll accept that your patch is pretty darn good and that the habitat is far from being ruined,as you regularly suggest. It always looks good and wildlife counts most days support that fact - enjoy it!