I had a full patch walk today, finding 49 species in the bird packed 5 hour visit. Three MISTLETHRUSHES flew over as I left home, a good start, then checking the Greenhouse Grounds I found a roving flock of LONG TAILED TITS, carrying with them 3 CHIFFCHAFFS and a BLACKCAP. Moving on to the circuit of Migrant Alley I heard SISKIN, LESSER REDPOLL and a single YELLOW WAGTAIL fly over, while out on the sheep pasture a flock of 20-30 MEADOW PIPITS were seen, I scanned through them as they flew up onto the hedge and fence line and found a WHINCHAT amongst them, I thought I had seen the last of these go through ;-) Also on seen on the paddocks were the 60-70 STARLINGS, 3 LINNETS and the usual ROOKS and CARRION CROWS, all flown over by scores of HOUSE MARTINS ans SWALLOWS moving south.
I headed for the Ashes lane Fields via the Pub Field and soon heard the noise of Geese again, as in the past few days, many hundreds of GREYLAG GEESE flew over, with smaller numbers of CANADA GEESE. I scanned along the fence above the drainage ditch once at the Ashes Lane Fields, where I picked out a few more Swallows and Meadow Pipits on the wire, but there was also another bird with them.......a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (73) ! I really had given up hopes of finding this species for the month, it's just the 3rd record this year and represents the latest date I have ever recorded one on my patch, 6 days later than the previous last date had in 2007.
Next stop was the lakes, here I found fewer Canada Geese than recent days, just 21 were on the main lake, but with them were 4 MANDARIN DUCKS, 3 of those being females. The other two lakes had a GREY HERON and a KINGFISHER between them of note.
The adjacent Scrubby Woods held no surprises this morning, except that Songthrush, Treecreeper and Coal tit weren't found, but the other sometimes hard to find woodland birds turned out, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, BULLFINCH, JAY, STOCK DOVE, GREENFINCH, and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER.
I tried again to find a Treecreeper, Coal Tit and Songthrush as I passed through the Wet Woods and on through the Small Holding, but failed to do so. I made my way back to Migrant Alley along High House Lane, where I heard, then saw, 2 SKYLARKS fly over from the direction of Bustard Hill, but the hoped for Yellowhammer wasn't to be found.
I reached my seat at Migrant Alley and had a Sky watch for 40 minutes, where BUZZARDS were seemingly everywhere, each time I scanned the sky one was present. A SPARROWHAWK was also seen, plus the female KESTREL had turned up on the greenhouse roof behind me. More Swallows, House Martins, Siskins and Meadow Pipits were flying about, plus another Yellow Wagtail went over, but the only species added to the days list was HERRING GULL, the only gull species for the day.
I made another sky watch later in the afternoon, I wanted to round off the days list up to 50 species, which I did with a fantastic HOBBY which flew through low and slow, but too distant for my camera, another 4 raptor species day though! Just as much a surprise, if not even more so, was the sighting of a RING NECKED PARAKEET (74) which flew over calling noisily, eventually dropping down into a large garden, that's one more for the September list, which now races into third best place, and just 4 species behind the record September tally :-) 51 species for the day is an excellent total, now if only the Pheasant, Songthrush, Coal Tit, and Treecreeper had joined in!