Sunday, 31 July 2016

Partly cloudy skies this morning allowed for plenty of sunshine to develop throughout the day.

An early skywatch from my seat at Migrant Alley provided views of four raptor species, those being BUZZARD, of which there were 3, KESTREL, HOBBY and best of all a RED KITE. Two Gull species were also seen going over - HERRING and BLACK HEADED, plus a skein of 29 CANADA GEESE flew low over, but little else was passing through.

WHITETHROAT, CHIFFCHAFF, and SWALLOW were the only Summer passerines seen. It was notable that the GOLDFINCHES have produced a few more broods, with a good number of young birds seen feeding on thistle heads at the Greenhouse Grounds.

With the sunshine lasting well into the morning, I decided to try and get some Odonata images, this at last was a success, with Migrant Hawker and Common Dater being photographed, i'll post the latter tomorrow, but here's a few of the Migrant hawker images for now.

This one looks to be an immature male.

Once the Dragon excepted my presence I was able to get nearer for some side on shots, although the light was a bit hit and miss.

It was good to be out using my camera again, a hobby that empties the mind of everything else once you get clicking  :-)

Saturday, 30 July 2016

The early morning sunshine lasted for an hour or so before cloud and showery rain moved in.

During a two and a half hour visit around Migrant Alley, the Ashes Lane Fields and the Greenhouse Grounds, I found very little of note, for the Summer species I recorded 2 calling CHIFFCHAFFS, 2 skulking COMMON WHITETHROAT, a single LESSER WHITETHROAT, a single BLACKCAP, a couple of dozen SWALLOWS and four SWIFTS. Flyovers from a lone GREYLAG GOOSE, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and 4 HERRING GULLS wasn't much for my 40 minute sky watch, where a BUZZARD was also seen, plus some of the KESTREL family were watched as they hunted around the general area.

Hopefully something will turn up for the July list during the months final visit tomorrow, although the tally so far, of 64, is the same as last July, it is 2 species short of the mean average tally for the previous 5 Julys' and 7 species short of the best ever July tally. Past regulars found during July, but not this, include ; Yellowhammer, Turtle Dove, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, the latter still hasn't been added to the year list yet, will this be the first year I don't see one at Pittswood ?

No photo's......again!

Friday, 29 July 2016

A grey, warm and humid morning with bits of drizzle from time to time, brightening up later in the day.

The last two days have not produced much to blog about on my patch, apart from another pair of WHIMBREL that flew over Migrant Alley on Wednesday morning.

Today I carried out the 10th and final 'full patch walk' for July, which was amazingly quiet, birdwise, great difficulty was had to even reach the modest day count of 45 species. A fortunate encounter with the first mixed feeding flock of the Autumn, in the scrubby Woods area, gave me most of what was seen there, with LONG TAILED TIT, GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and CHAFFINCH all tagging along together. I also saw the years first young BULLFINCH, the 41st species to be confirmed as successfully bred on my patch, this is probably the last I will confirm as such, but Little Owl and Tawny Owl will go down as probably bred, making for a breeding species list of 43, two less than last year and and 5 less than 2014, actual numbers of those species that breed are falling here too, that's habitat destruction at work  :-(

BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL appeared for the raptor species, while HERRING GULL and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL represented the Gulls. A flyover GREY HERON and a SWIFT were the only noteworthy species to do so.

Still not much luck on the photographic front, just another Beautiful Demoiselle shot to show, plus a Lapwing that I photographed at Bough Beech Reservoir yesterday afternoon, where it was very queit also!

Beautiful Demoiselle

Dozing Lapwing

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A mostly cloudy day today, with a few bright or sunny spells. Feeling warm in light winds.

I undertook another full patch walk this morning, finding a good tally of 47 bird species, once again though, as in the last few patch visits, Long Tailed Tit was not on the days list, they are very elusive this month!

After yesterdays exiting flyover of the years first Whimbrel, I wasn't expecting anything more to set my pulse racing today, but a careful look along the nettle/bramble bed beneath the Alder trees that form the border of Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, there was indeed something to get excited about, a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER (95,64) no less! This is a real rare bird to visit my patch, just the second record of one in the 15 years of recording, the first being back in September 2011, what a brilliant little Warbler to find!!

After that little find, the rest of the visit felt rather mundane, but all the regular species turned up, apart from Pheasant, the already mentioned Long Tailed Tit and the Lesser Whitethroat that could have been expected to show.

Three House Martins flew over the scrubby Woods, a scarce visitor nowadays, SWIFTS were also seen flying through, but not much else went over apart from a few HERRING GULLS. The KESTREL pair were seen with at least one of their offspring over various parts of my patch, BUZZARD and SPARROWHAWK were also seen.


Monday, 25 July 2016

Broken cloud and sunny intervals prevailed throughout today, making for a pleasant patch visit.

A few hours out on my patch this morning brought some excitement when during a sky watch at Migrant Alley, a couple of migrant WHIMBREL (94, 63) flew low over, heading SW. A good bird species to record for my patch, only 8 year lists from 15 have Whimbrel on them  :-) Also seen flying over of note was a lone CORMORANT, a single LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, 3 BLACK HEADED GULLS and 8 HERRING GULLS. The three local Raptor species of BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were also seen up and about.

Not much else bird wise, apart from the LESSER WHITETHROAT pair that were seen 'alarming' around their diminishing territory at the Greenhouse Grounds.

I again spent some time around the scrubby Woods area looking for Odonata, hoping to get some more images of the Brilliant Emerald Dragonfly, but although it was seen numerous times, along with the Downy Emerald, it proved impossible to photograph, as did the Brown hawker and Common Darter that were also seen there. I checked along the sunny side of the Wet Woods too, finding two new Odonata species for the year, with firstly, Southern Hawker, then, Migrant Hawker being seen, both proved to be camera shy though, good job the old Beautiful Demoiselle was still about on its territory then!

Beautiful Demoiselle.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Initial clear skies became partly cloudy this morning, but the day remained dry and warm with some good sunny spells.

I returned home early from yesterdays walk, feeling unwell again, so no blog post, but today I was out early for a full patch walk, however I again felt pretty rough at the end of my visit, this cold virus I have is a right bastard!

In the somewhat curtailed full patch walk, I did get to find a reasonable tally of bird species, 45 in all, nothing outstanding or new for the months list, with most species only turning up in ones and two's, as is normally the case during July.

There were 23 GREYLAG GEESE on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, over which 4 MISTLETHRUSHES flew, only the second record of this species for July. The CANADA GEESE had already moved on to the lakes, where only a GREY HERON was of any note. BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were all seen hunting on and over my patch, while the Summer passerine species were particularly hard to locate today, but I did get to see one each of CHIFFCHAFF, WHITETHROAT and BLACKCAP, plus lots of SWALLOWS, mostly immatures flying around. No Swifts were seen today, nor Long Tailed Tit, but they were the only two species that were missing from todays list that could have been reasonably expected to show up.

I spent a some time looking into the Scrubby Woods, the constant calls of COAL TIT, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, and BULLFINCH were heard,but the real reason I was watching, was the Dragonflies, I could see BROWN HAWKER flying low over the brambles and nettles, as well as a Beatiful Demoiselle up in an Oak tree, a couple of COMMON DARTERS were high up in an Elder, but the star dragon was a DOWNY EMERALD. I watched what I thought were two individuals patrolling their territories, eventually one of them alighted deep in the nettles and brambles, stupidly, I set of in there after it! I manged to locate it, after getting stung, scratched and gouged, ( no wonder I felt crap by the visits end!) I could only get to within 2 meters of it, but got a record shot, which in my opinion shows it to be not a Downy Emerald, but the much more interesting BRILLIANT EMERALD, a fantastic find for my patch, just the second ever!

The yellow 'Frons' (face) separates the Brilliant Emerald from the downy Emerald. Although a side on shot, it does seem to show this feature. Shame I couldn't get more images, I'll try again tomorrow, weather and my virus permitting!

Friday, 22 July 2016

A mostly cloudy morning with the odd spell of sunshine, but still feeling quite warm and muggy.

Still not feeling 100% after my cold virus, but I got round for a four hour full patch walk today, during which I found a good tally of bird species for a July day, 47 in all. None were new for this months list, but I did get to see 2 LESSER WHITETHROAT young, good to have confirmation of successful breeding of this now rare patch species. Had they bred 10 meters further along the bramble strip, they would have almost certainly perished, as the crew at the Greenhouse Grounds are busy ripping it all out, doesn't bode well for next year though  :-(

Long Tailed Tit, Mistlethrush and Pheasant failed to show today, they could have made it a 50 species day, but all the other common and regular patch species were seen or heard. A pair of LITTLE OWLS duetted over at the Small Holding, they must breed here but I rarely find any young ones. The three local raptor species were all up hunting, those being BUZZARD, KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK, the first two species mentioned had young in tow.

Not much flew over, just a couple of HERRING GULLS, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, a few SWIFTS and a GREY HERON, of which there was also one on the lakes, along with a few CANADA GEESE and the GREYLAG GOOSE that thinks its a Canada Goose!

A short look for dragonflies around the edge of the Scrubby Woods was a bit more promising, I recorded Brown hawker, Beautiful Demoiselle and got another decent sighting of a Downy Emerald as looked through the woodland - if only I could get in there with them!

I was back home by 10:00hrs, and felt so rubbish I lost the rest of the day milling around my house and garden feeling sorry for myself........must be man flu!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

After a sunny start to the day, a brisk wind develped, bringing cloud in by 09:00hrs, before clearing again by 13:00hrs to leave a humid and hot afternoon.

I awoke this morning with a streaming cold!! My intended 'full patch walk' was postponed therefore, as I didn't feel up to a four or five hour walk, so instead a more leisurely sky watch was had from my seat at Migrant Alley. I had had reports from a friend just to the north of my patch that he had put up two Greenshank whilst out metal detecting in a field, my sky watch didn't include such rarities, but it did produce my first sighting of the local PEREGRINE (62) this month. BUZZARD and KESTREL were also seen, along with their respective young.

SWIFTS and SWALLOWS were seen up in the early blue sky, then as the cloud rolled in the three Gull species of LESSER BLACK BACKED, HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULL all flew over. A couple of SKYLARKS flew up from the nearby sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, where there were also 15 CANADA GEESE and 8 GREYLAG GEESE.

I soon got annoyed with sitting and having constant sneezing fits, and called it a day soon after 09:00hrs. This afternoon the sun came back out, of course I was tempted out with my Camera, and headed for the sunny stretch of the south facing Wet Woods to try and find some Butterflies and Dragonflies, the latter are still woefully in short supply this summer, with just singles of Brown Hawker, Ruddy Darter, and Azure Damselfly seen, plus a few White-legged Damselflies, as i said very poor  :-(  There were a few Butterfly species about though, the star of the show being a Silver Washed fritillary, a real bonus species on my patch. I also saw Purple Hairstreak, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Large and Small Whites, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper............Not a single photo was taken though, my heart wasn't really in it as I kept sneezing away!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Wall to wall clear blue skies this morning produced the hottest day of the year so far.

Even by 07:00hrs the heat of the day sent most sensible animals into shelter, leaving me with not much to find! I did however get to see the first YELLOW WAGTAIL (61) of the Autumn as it flew over Migrant Alley, calling as it went. A CORMORANT was also seen flying over, but not much else was seen apart from a HERRING GULL and a couple of parties of SWIFTS.

Three KESTRELS were on the Greenhouses, a SPARROWHAWK was mobbed by at least 30 angry SWALLOWS, but only one BUZZARD was seen today, no sign of the young one over at the Wet Woods.

By 10:00hrs the heat of the day sent me into the shade of my garden, little was now being seen out in the fields, even the bees had stopped visiting my garden nectar border, it was so hot!

Yellow Wagtail on the paddocks at Migrant Alley (one from my archives)

Monday, 18 July 2016

Summer finally arrived big time today, with blue skies and temperatures in the 80's.

A SONGTHRUSH awoke me at 04:15hrs, the first dog was yapping at 06:00hrs and the first brush cutter was heard at 06:30hrs, normal quiet countryside dwelling then!

I spent until 11:00hrs carrying out a full patch walk this morning, by which time most living things had retired to the shade of the woods, however, before they hid themselves away, I recorded an average tally of bird species for a July visit - 43 in all. The highlight was watching only my second record this year of the LAPWING (60) as it flew over the Ashes Lane Fields, a once common winter visitor and passage bird in spring and early Autumn. The July list moves on to 60 now, still only in 13th place out of the 15 July's recorded.

Not much else was in the sky, a few SWIFTS, plus the local SWALLOWS, but not a single gull was seen flying over today. SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL and BUZZARD were all up hunting, the latter two species had young with them, a probable Hobby was also seen, but too briefly to confirm!

LINNET was added to this years ''Successfully Bred'' list, two recently fledged young were seen being fed by both parents along the hedgerow at Ashes Lane, another once common breeding species here, but it's now declined down to two breeding pairs at best.

Most of the regulars were seen or heard in the wooded parts of my patch, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT and BULLFINCH being the pick of those, with just Long Tailed Tit and Mistlethrush missing.

Nothing at all on the lakes, well, just the odd MOORHEN, the GREYLAG GEESE and CANADA GEESE were over at Migrant Alley grazing with the sheep  :-)

A search for Dragonflies proved very disappointing, just a couple of White-legged Damselflies were seen with a lone Ruddy Darter, Butterflies were also around in only average numbers.

Gatekeeper Butterfly

Large White Butterfly. Slim pickings for the camera in such good conditions.......I feel a visit to a proper piece of habitat coming on!!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Another very reasonable Summers day, with light winds, patchy cloud and temperatures up to 22C. very nice  :-)

I spent the first part  of the morning sky watching from my seat over at Migrant Alley, although not before I had first walked a circuit of the sheep pasture and horse paddocks there. My slow amble round the fence lines was punctuated with plenty of stops, so as to check the posts for a possible early 'Chat' species, or maybe a Yellow Wagtail or two, but none were forthcoming, still a bit early yet, the best I could find were the four CANADA GEESE that were grazing in with the sheep! ROOKS, CARRION CROWS, JACKDAWS, WOODPIGEONS, the odd PIED WAGTAIL a few GOLDFINCHS, plus a couple of LINNETS were also seen.

Taking up my seat I scanned the sky for the next two hours, always hoping for one of those rare moments when something unexpected flies over, but again, today was not to be the day, although having said that I did watch a RED KITE (59) drift over from the south before back tracking again, an increasingly common spectacle now and an addition to the July bird species list.

A tractor was harrowing the small field at the Greenhouse Grounds that used to accommodate the  line of ancient Plum trees, these have been felled and the surrounding unimproved grassland has now been turned to fine tilth. Nature always takes advantage of what it can though, and from my seat I watched a dozen HERRING GULLS, 5 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS and a pair of BLACK HEADED GULLS drop in to pick over the turned ground, these were joined by a brace of STOCK DOVES and 3 Pied wagtails.

The KESTREL pair were observed on the Greenhouses, along with at least one of their young, plus I saw the BUZZARD pair up over the Wet Woods and could hear their youngster calling. The only other sighting of note during my sky watch were a few SWIFTS moving through and the local SWALLOWS feeding.

Later in the morning I walked the edge of the Wet Woods in search of Butterflies and Dragonflies, I did see a few of each species, Meadow Browns were the most numerous butterflies seen, with a few Large Whites, Small Whites, Large and Small Skippers, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Commas, and singles of Purple Hairstreak, Gatekeeper and Holly Blue, the latter being the first this month. As for Dragons it was pretty disappointing, although I did find a few White-legged Damselflies, a Beautiful Demoiselle, a Brown Hawker, an Emperor Dragonfly and a couple of Ruddy Darters. The best place for Odonata is the Scrubby Woods, but it's now not possible to get in there, such has been the growth of vegetation during this wet summer!

Photo opportunities were few and those that arose always had a reason for me not to like my results, here's a couple I did keep though - just about  :-)

Beautiful Demoiselle

White-legged Damselfly

Friday, 15 July 2016

This morning was mainly fine, with light winds, scattered cloud and long sunny periods.

No posts for the last two days, Wednesday had little to report, whilst on Thursday I escaped to the coast with my better half  :-)

So today it was time for a full patch walk, where in the 5 hour visit just 42 species were found, with the likes of Pheasant, Long Tailed Tit, Mistlethrush, Swift and Sparrowhawk all going unrecorded for the normally regularly encountered species, although of course the latter was seen this afternoon as it visited my garden  :-)

I did however add another species to the July bird species list when a couple of CORMORANTS (58) flew over the Ashes Lane Fields, plus I also added JAY to the 2016 'Successfully Bred'' patch list, an adult was seen with a lone, recently fledged bird in the Wet Woods. The young BUZZARD was seen well as it sat on a gate separating the Wet Woods from one of the adjacent Large gardens, the only other raptor species about today were the KESTRELS, two of the young were seen with the adult female hunting around the Greenhouse Grounds area.

It was good to see another family of recently fledged SONGTHRUSHES at the Small Holding area, a couple more were heard singing, but little else sang today, just CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKBIRD were heard.

Nothing on the lakes to excite, just a few CANADA GEESE, the odd MOORHEN and a couple of MALLARDS, while the wooded areas of my patch yielded most of what was expected, the best being BLACKCAP, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH and STOCK DOVE.

I spent some time looking for Butterflies and Dragonflies and found the first GATEKEEPER Butterfly of the summer, which is the 18th butterfly species of the year. Few dragons were about, just a Ruddy Darter, White-legged Damselfly and a Brown Hawker, the latter gave me a quick record shot!

Brown Hawker. One day I'll get close enough to get a proper photo!

Ruddy Darter

Comma Butterfly.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Initial sunshine soon disappeared as cloud built up by 08:00hrs, heavy showers fell by noon and throughout the rest of the day.

It was pleasant enough out around the fields of Migrant Alley in the early sunshine, as the wind had eased off a bit, however not much of note was seen on the circuit of the sheep pasture and paddocks there, just the usual ROOKS, CARRION CROWS, JACKDAWS, WOODPIGEONS, a coupe of GOLDFINCHES feeding on the thistles that escape the cutting regime, plus a couple of LINNETS.

I decided on a sky watch from my seat, and during the 2 hours recorded 35 species, the best being a pair of SAND MARTINS (57), the first species to kick off the Autumn migration. A couple of dozen SWIFTS also moved through, plus a BLACK HEADED GULL and a few HERRING GULLS. I watched the KESTREL pair and the BUZZARD pair up hunting, and listened to a SKYLARK singing over at the nearby Bustard Hill. There was a ''sing off'' between a WHITETHROAT, a BLACKCAP and a GREENFINCH at the Greenhouse grounds, I'd say the Whitethroat just about won!


Only the dregs left from my blog photo folder now, the last images i've got, these I took in Wales last month.

Fly over Curlew

It would be nice to have this species fly over my patch  :-)


Monday, 11 July 2016

Not a lot to report over the last 2 days, early July seldom produces much of note birdwise on my patch and the switch to recording and photographing Butterflies and dragonflies during this time, has been thwarted by some strong winds, with mostly grey skies, all very frustrating!

I have been out and about though, yesterday I found the first CHIFFCHAFF fledglings of the year over in the Scrubby Woods, while this morning I saw my first HOUSE MARTINS (56) of the month over Migrant Alley. Also, after sitting and watching for some time, I finally saw a young BUZZARD, it flew from a large, well wooded garden, adjacent to the Wet Woods, to meet an adult bird that was carrying food for it, this is the first year I have confirmed successful breeding for this species here at Pittswood  :-)

There seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel as far as the weather is concerned, with better conditions moving in from Thursaday onwards..............we shall see!

Back to my Wales images for todays blog brighteners  :-)


Saturday, 9 July 2016

There some brief sunny moments this morning, when it felt warm out of the brisk wind, cloud built in for the afternoon and the wind strengthened further still.

I made a full patch walk today, finding 47 bird species in all, with just Mistlethrush, Long Tailed Tit and Sparrowhawk being unrecorded for the regular patch species, although the latter was seen hunting at my garden feeders this afternoon!

Three Gull species were on the fresh cut silage field at Bustard Hill, those being LESSER BLACK BACKED, HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULL, a SKYLARK sang overhead, no doubt wondering what has happened to its nest site....again!

The KESTREL pair were seen around the Greenhouses, where there was one of their youngsters perched up on one of the greenhouses, the only other raptor species seen this morning was a BUZZARD which flew from the Scrubby Woods, where I had a surprise encounter with a TAWNY OWL, it flying straight at me before swerving off into cover. A flock of 23 GOLDFINCHES was a nice sight, hinting at the change of seasons, although last Autumn doesn't seen to have left us yet!!!


Although warm enough for Butterflies and Dragonflies, the wind kept them out of site, it also made photographing any that did venture out impossible  :-(

I've got a couple of Odonata images from yesterdays trip to Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve to brighten the post though.......

Banded Demoiselle

Shame about the grass stem in front of the abdomen!

Common Blue Damsels mating.

Friday, 8 July 2016

This morning was grey and overcast, with a cool wind blowing - back to that weather again!

I wasn't out for long, the chorus of lawn mowers, strimmers and leaf blowers that seem to blight every Monday and Friday as the team of cheap immigrant labour tidy all the large local gardens, soon had me returning home, what a racket from 7 till midday!

The only thing of any note on my brief walk round Migrant Alley was a newly fledged GREEN WOODPECKER that was clinging on to a fence post, one more for the years 'Successfully bred' patch list, taking it to 35 now.

I escaped the noise, eventually making a visit to Sevenoaks wildfowl Reserve, where I tried to get some Odonata images, I was only partly successful though, as the cloud thickened and the wind got up - oh, and one of those bloody hover drones was being flown about the place  - more noise, duh!!

Blue Tailed Damselfly, this is a female, which come in five colour forms, this one being the 'Violacea' form.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

It was mostly cloudy this morning, with just a few short sunny periods, hardly summer, but better than most of whats been before!

I spent two hours sky watching this morning from my seat at Migrant Alley, the hope was for a possible Wader species to fly over on return Autumn migration, always a rare occurrence, but it has happened in the past, with species as unlikely as Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Curlew, Golden Plover and Whimbrel all being recorded. Anyway it all remained a dream, as none flew through today, not even my second best hope of a House Martin for the months list was forthcoming.

The fly through species I did record, were; LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL and GREY HERON. Sightings of BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL and HOBBY made it another 4 Raptor species day, plus a few local species moving around the area kept me busy, like GREEN WOODPECKER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, SWIFT, SWALLOW, WOODPIGEONS, COLLARED DOVES various finches, Tits, and Corvids. A bit of song from BLACKCAP, WHITETHROAT and CHIFFCHAFF coming from the Greenhouse Grounds was also enjoyed.

After my sky watch I wandered off to the Scrubby Woods and along the edge of the Wet Woods to look for Butterflies and Dragonflies, finding my two first recently fledged MAGPIES of the year in the former mentioned habitat, but few Odonata were seen there, just a single Brown hawker and a Beautiful Demoiselle, but to be fair I couldn't get to most of my usual Dragon spots due to the bramble growth. I again saw a Ringlet Butterfly there, as well as Purple Hairstreak, Comma, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and both Small and Large Skippers and the usual Whites. The edge of the Wet Woods was similarly disappointing, by now the breeze was up and the cloud had increased making for not ideal conditions, but I did see Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Emperor Dragonfly, another Brown Hawker and a few White-legged Damselflies.

Meadow Brown Butterfly

Large Skipper

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Long sunny periods with just a light wind made for a very pleasant day, the best for a month at least!

Two days couldn't be more different, yesterday was cool and cloudy, my patch visit provided nothing at all of note - hence no blog yesterday, but in todays summer weather my full patch walk provided a bird list of 49 species, four being new for the month, plus a new butterfly species for the year list, a Purple Hairstreak which was found at the edge of the Wet Woods. There were also three new Dragonfly species for the year seen, those being Emperor Dragonfly, Banded Demoiselle and Ruddy Darter.

The first new bird species to be added to the July list was the LESSER WHITETHROAT (51) one gave just a brief bit of song at the Greenhouse Grounds, but I couldn't find any young about, I'm convinced they have bred here though! The second new species for July was TAWNY OWL (52), A BLACKBIRD was mobbing one at the edge of the main lake, eventually sending it to hide deeper into cover, giving me good views as it flew off. The main lake provided the third new species for the month when two MANDARIN DUCKS (53) were spotted asleep under the branches of the trees that overhang the water. The fourth species to be added to the July list today was LITTLE OWL (54) two were calling to each other at the Small Holding area, later this afternoon I added a further species to the months list when a troop of 6 LONG TAILED TITS (55) visited my garden feeders, 50 species for the day!

Ruddy Darter

Beautiful Demoiselle, I failed to get an opportunity to photograph the Banded Demoiselle!

Monday, 4 July 2016

There was thick fog early this morning, clearing to sunny spells, before clouding over around midday.

With the fog not properly lifting until gone 08:00hrs, the most productive part of the morning was lost, however, I did get to see a GREY WAGTAIL (50) drop into the Greenhouse Grounds, bringing up the 50th species for July.

The KESTREL pair were seen up hunting and carrying prey to their young, which were not seen today, a BUZZARD was over the Wet Woods, where I heard what sounded like a young one constantly calling, unfortunately I couldn't locate it in the canopy, so successful breeding for this species has not been confirmed, but I suspect they have bred on my patch this year for the first time  :-)

Not much else was of note bird wise, but a search for Dragonflies and Butterflies proved more interesting when I saw my first Brown Hawker of the year, plus the first Small Skippers were seen.

Small Skipper, a male by the looks of it  :-)

A few White-legged Damsels were also seen, the males have now matured to a lovely powder blue colour.

Common Darter, Beautiful Demoiselle and large red Damselfly were the other Odonata species seen today.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Another bright start to the day, cloud eventually built up but it remained dry.

A full patch walk was undertaken today, when during the 4 and a half hour visit I recorded 47 bird species, with six of those being new for the July list. The first of those was the MISTLETHRUSH (44), of which 3 flew over Migrant Alley, where I also saw a BLACK HEADED GULL (45) fly over.

Other new species for the month included a COAL TIT (46) that was singing in the Scrubby Woods, a GREYLAG GOOSE (47) that was with 7 CANADA GEESE on the main lake, a SPARROWHAWK (48) that was hunting around the Small Holding, plus a HOBBY (49) that was seen to catch a SWALLOW over the Greenhouse Grounds, where just one young KESTREL was seen today. Three BUZZARDS were seen during my visit, making it a four Raptor species day.

On a sadder note for my patch, it was disappointing to see that the four old Plum Trees that were in a field  disused by the Greenhouse Grounds have been chopped down, the field is being brought into use apparently.  A shame as these gnarled and holey trees provided nests sites for many generations of Blue and Great Tits, the plums were nice too!

A Ringlet Butterfly was seen in the Scrubby Woods, a scarce butterfly here and the first ever to be found on this part of my patch.

Despite the nice bright conditions I didn't even get the lens cap off my camera - some days are like that! I do at least have a few 'blog brighteners' left from my wales visit  :-)

Spotted Flycatcher. A species now lost as a breeding bird at Pittswood

I've not even had a passage bird here this spring.

Tree Pipit. A species long gone from my patch. I just get the odd one turn up on Autumn migration.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Clear blue skies this morning lasted until 07:00hrs, when cloud slowly built and the wind picked up, making it feel cool. Heavy showers fell from mid day onwards.

I spent 3 and a half hours this morning walking the Ashes Lane Fields, Pub Field, Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, then had an hours sky watch, but I didn't add a single species to the months list, nor did I find anything to add to the years successfully bred list.

There were plenty of immature SWALLOWS flying about the sheep pasture

They are one species that has breed well here despite the poor Summer weather.

The 2 WHITETHROAT pairs at the Greenhouse grounds continue to feed their recently fledged young, as do the pair at the Ashes Lane Fields

The KESTREL family were out of their box, I found 2 among the wooden pallets around the yard, both parents were seen up hunting, but the other youngsters weren't seen.

This looks to be the youngest of the brood

There was plenty of ''Buzzard Food'' about, but just the one was seen up hunting.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Another woeful Summers day, with grey skies, intermittent drizzle and a moderate breeze.

Although not the best conditions for a full patch walk, I always like to carry one out on the first day of the new month, here's the bird species I recorded during the walk, in order of appearance...........

GREENFINCH, COLLARED DOVE, WOODPIGEON, BLUE TIT, CARRION CROW, BLACKCAP, DUNNOCK, GOLDFINCH, JACKDAW, WREN and CHAFFINCH were noted as I walked the short distance along Ashes lane to the Greenhouse Grounds, where GOLDREST, PIED WAGTAIL, WHITETHROAT, ROBIN, BLACKBIRD and KESTREL all joined the list. A circuit of Migrant Alley in a blowing drizzle was not very productive, but STARLING, ROOK, and SWALLOW were all added.

The Greenhouse Copse was walked through, but just MAGPIE and CHIFFCHAFF were added to the July list. A LINNET flew over calling as I made my way to High House Lane and Bustard Hill, but again, little was noted, just HOUSE SPARROW and both GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER.

The Small Holding added another couple of species, those being NUTHATCH and SONGTHRUSH, then the walk through the Wet Woods gave me MOORHEN, TREECREEPER and JAY for the months tally.

Next up was the lakes, which had MALLARD, CANADA GOOSE and GREY HERON present, then onto the Scrubby Woods which yielded STOCK DOVE, PHEASANT, GREAT TIT and BULLFINCH.

I made my way over to the Ashes Lane Fields and Pub Field, but only added flyover species to the days list, those being HERRING GULL, BUZZARD and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL.

Finishing my walk with a short sky watch from my seat at Migrant Alley I added SWIFT and lastly SKYLARK to the July bird list, bringing the total to a reasonable 43 species.

A long way to go then to catch the best July total of 71 species, which was achieved in 2014, even the 66 required to meet the previous 5 years mean average tally looks a bit daunting !

More images from Wales to brighten the post!

Recently fledged Redstart

The similar Robin fledgling