Sunday 30 September 2012

This mornings Sunrise At Migrant Alley
Clear skies overnight helped produce a slight frost Early this morning, making it feel very Autumnal, but once again there were plenty of bird species about, with an excellent total of 51 being found, none new for the month, or the year, but still some nice sightings to end September.

Before the sun was even above the horizon, skeins of GREYLAG and CANADA GEESE were honking there way over, smaller groups, plus a few individuals passed over all morning. I watched the sun rise over Migrant Alley and as it did so the birds began to appear, hundreds of HOUSE MARTINS soon moved in to feed over the sheep pasture, along with slightly fewer SWALLOWS, MEADOW PIPITS dropped in amongst the sheep, and at least 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS were heard calling at they flew high above. STARLING numbers increased as the sun grew warmer, up to 150 fed warily with the JACKDAWS, ROOKS and CARRION CROWS.

I walked a circuit of Migrant Alley, and heard a TREECREEPER calling from the Greenhouse Copse as I passed, a CHIFFCHAFF called from the Wooded Headland , where BLACKBIRDS, WRENS, DUNNOCKS, and a PHEASANT were also seen. I scanned the paddocks and fences for a passage Wheatear or Whinchat, but none there this morning. I watched the first HERRING GULLS with a few BLACK HEADED GULLS fly over towards a ploughed field just off patch, two LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS also joined them today.

The College Grounds were relatively quiet, but the likes of GREENFINCH, CHAFFINCH, GOLDFINCH, LINNET, GOLDCREST, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKER plus another CHIFFCHAFF were found, a GREY HERON flew over whilst I was there. I made my way back to the Greenhouse Grounds and checked the boundary hedgerow, and rather fortuitously this SISKIN dropped in, it had clouded over by now and was against the light but I took a photo anyway  :-)
This Blackbird was in the same hedgerow, seen as I passed earlier, notice the sun was out then!
Walking back up Ashes lane towards home and a quick snack, this KESTREL was seen in a large Garden
After my snack I wandered through the Small Holding, here another Chiffchaff called, and the first of many JAYS was seen, a BUZZARD was chased out of the Wet Woods by Carrion Crows as I entered, although the woods was mostly quiet apart from BLUE and GREAT TITS, but an early bit of drumming was heard from a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and more pleasingly a Treecreeper was in full song  :-)

Next up was a scan of the lakes, where just one canada Goose was seen, plus five MALLARDS six MOORHEN, a Grey Heron and the COOT. The Adjacent Scrubby Woods had a good haul of birds for the days list, those not seen already included COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, MISTLE THRUSH, LONG TAILED TIT, NUTHATCH and SONGTHRUSH.

 I finished up walking over to the Tree Nursery, where two STOCK DOVES were found, but nothing new for the day was evident, more of interest was seen flying over, the likes of SKYLARK, PIED WAGTAIL, CORMORANT, and SPARROWHAWK, all entertained.

A decent last weekend to end September with then, the month finishing on 73 species, which is the joint 2nd best September total, along with 2010 and 20011, but 5 species behind the September record set in 2009. There were two species recorded this September that have not occurred in any other, the Shoveler Duck and the Barnacle Goose.

Bring on October!

Saturday 29 September 2012

Sun rise this morning, to the right is Hadlow Tower, still encased in scaffolding

It was cool and clear for this mornings full patch walk, which turned out to be a pretty good visit. One of the more interesting observations that can be had at this time of year is the presence of the last of the Summer birds and the first of the Autumn/Winter birds, and this was the case today.

The Summer species were represented by CHIFFCHAFFS, BLACKCAPS, YELLOW WAGTAIL, HOUSE MARTIN, and SWALLOW,  the Autumn/ Winter species were fewer, but none-the-less welcome, they included my first SISKINS (71) this month, 3 were found feeding on Alder at the College Grounds, and another first for the month, a COOT (72) was found on one of the lakes, two CORMORANTS were also seen fishing here.
Chiffchaff, first thing this morning, in the hedgerow boundary dividing Migrant Alley/Greenhouse Complex
Here's the same Chiffchaff, I took this photo just a few minutes later than the one above, and already the light had changed.
One more new species was added to the months list this morning, when the pair of local PEREGRINES (73) put in an appearance, they were chasing a flock of WOOD PIGEONS over the Wet Woods, the 3 additions to the months list bring the total for September to 73, which is the mean average for the previous 5 Septembers, and equal the totals of the last two.

Most of the regular species were found today, making for an excellent day list of 50 species, but it still lacked a Long Tailed Tit, or more surprisingly a Sparrowhawk, but the BUZZARD seen perched on a fencline at Migrant Alley made up for that, two KESTRELS made up the Raptor list for today.

Other nice finds today were at least 30 MEADOW PIPITS at Migrant Alley, plus a couple of SKYLARK. A GREY HERON also flew over whilst I was there, as did a few HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS.
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
The Scrubby Woods adjacent to the lakes was more active than of late, with COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, two of the Chiffchaffs, and a Blackcap all being found, a MISTLE THRUSH was heard to sing whilst I was there - they've started early!

Another interesting theme to today was the sighting of JAYS, groups of two, three and four were seen moving about the area, Ive also been getting a pair at the garden feeders, where I spent an hour this afternoon trying to photograph them, but they are too wary for me! I got my first Coal Tit since March at the feeders, the 23rd species to visit the garden feeders this month, it also dodged my camera though, but I got a few shots of the regulars to fill the Blog folder  ;-)
Starling on the telephone cables along Ashes lane

Friday 28 September 2012

A couple of CHIFFCHAFFS both gave some song at the College Grounds as I walked into work this morning, where a TREECREEPER was also singing loudly, the place sounded quite springlike with the ROBINS singing as well   :-)

This afternoon after work, I visited Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, a gusty wind was blowing, and some light showers fell, as the sky became progressively greyer. After not finding much amongst the scrubby parts of the Greenhouse Grounds, I did a circuit of the pasture and paddocks at Migrant Alley, it had once again been heavily disturbed, but a small flock of a dozen GOLDFINCH were seen, they were joined by 4 MEADOW PIPITS and 2 LINNETS. Also seen was a nice flock of at least 250 STARLINGS, which fed very warily, they had one eye on the sky like I did, and it wasn't long before a SPARROWHAWK visited, 2 single BUZZARDS also flew low over, and the KESTREL pair traversed the fields from time to time, no wonder the Starlings were jumpy! The only other birds present were 40-50 JACKDAWS, around 40 ROOKS and 2 GREEN WOODPECKERS.

All the time I was out this afternoon, a passage of HOUSE MARTINS was noted, they continually streamed through, stopping only to briefly to grab some aerial food, and mingle with the local SWALLOWS, before moving on, many hundreds must have passed through in the 2 and a half hours I was out.

I had a short sky watch from my seat, and had more Kestrel and Sparrowhawk views, as well as all those House Martins and Swallows, a GREY HERON flapped slowly over, and a few HERRING GULLS, BLACK HEADED GULLS and two LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS were also seen, best bird today was a single YELLOW WAGTAIL that flew over high, giving its distinct call.

Once again though, no new species were added to the months list, but maybe my full patch walk early  tomorrow will throw up  one or two  :-)  Nothing for the camera today, and the blog photo folder is empty  :-(

Thursday 27 September 2012

The Hawthorn crop this year looks good, a feast for the winter thrushes
On a much improved afternoon weatherwise, I visited the lakes, via the Small holding and Wet woods instead of the paddocks and pastures of Migrant Alley, as there was much disturbance there. In the Small Holding a troop of LONG TAILED TITS moved through the tree canopy, along with a few BLUE and GREAT TITS, while in the Wet woods the pits are beginning to fill up with water, bringing hope of a Teal dropping in, this will depend on how many dog walkers go through though.

Arriving at the lakes I found it full of Geese, 44 CANADA and 4 GREYLAGS, all preening and resting up. The only ducks seen there were 2 MALLARDS, 4 MOORHEN were also seen. The adjacent Scrubby Woods had a calling CHIFFCHAFF as well as a calling BULLFINCH, nothing much else of note here though, apart from a couple of Comma Butterflies.

I made my way over to the Tree Nursery, and checked the boundary hedgerow, where I found a male BLACKCAP feeding on Elder berries, no other warblers were with it today though. The shrubs and vegetation in the Tree Nursery were empty as far as I could tell, just MAGPIES, DUNNOCKS and ROBINS were found. Next up was the Greenhouse Grounds, this proved relatively quiet too, with the regular WRENS, Robins, Dunnocks, and BLACKBIRDS, with a small flock of 8 GOLDFINCH.

I ended up on my sky watching seat, where I spent 40 minutes scanning the sky. I didn't take long to find the pair of local KESTRELS and a pair of SPARROWHAWKS, plus the local group of SWALLOWS, with just small numbers of HOUSE MARTIN passing through and joining them for short periods. A CORMORANT flew low over, as did a few HERRING GULLS and two LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS.

A scan of all the fences and posts out in the paddocks and pasture was made, but nothing was seen, as I said earlier it had been heavily disturbed already.

With just 3 days left of September I still need 3 more species to reach the mean average September total for the last 5 years, it doesn't look too good though, and another relatively poor month looks on the cards as far as bird diversity is concerned, but that has been the case for most of this year, only February and August have achieved a species total above their respective months previous 5 year average.

As well as the Hawthorn Berries at the top of the page, I also found a few other subjects for the camera today  :-)

One of the Greylag Geese on the main lake, with the Canadian Geese
Canada Geese
Comma Butterfly on Blackberries

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Absolutely hopeless today! Heavy and persistent rain all morning turned more showery in the afternoon, but even in the few short lived sunny spells the close proximity of the next shower meant the rain still fell, but it did make for some nice rainbows  ;-)

The only birds noted today were a SAND MARTIN, mixed in with the SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, and a skein of 34 CANADA GEESE flying over. I attempted twice to get out this afternoon, but was thwarted by the rain each time, just wasting my time standing under the poly tunnels watching rainbows  :-(

More luck tomorrow perhaps!

Tuesday 25 September 2012

A few bits and pieces were recorded as I walked into work this morning, wont be long before it's too dark for pre- work birding now. A LITTLE OWL was seen flying across a large garden next to Migrant Alley, where overhead 43 CANADA GEESE flew. A CHIFFCHAFF was singing at the College Grounds.

This afternoons patch visit was blighted by heavy blustery showers, but although frequent they were short lived, so I didn't get too wet! My walk produced a few common passage migrant birds, the first of those was a SAND MARTIN that went over Migrant Alley along with a few HOUSE MARTINS and SWALLOWS, the local Swallows are still hanging about over the sheep pasture though, and seemed to enjoy dive bombing the small group of MEADOW PITS, GOLDFINCH and LINNET that were feeding there  :-)

I walked the Pub Field, where just a few Feral Pigeons were on the harrowed stubbles, the 100 meter hedgrerow that is the shared boundary with the Tree Nursery seemed devoid of birds, until I crossed over into the Tree Nursery and checked up that side of it, then I found a pristine male BLACKCAP feeding on the plentiful Elder and Blackberries, but more surprising was seeing an equally pristine LESSER WHITHROAT with it  :-) This represents the latest Lesser Whitethroat recorded on my patch, 5 days later than the previous latest back in 2009. I scanned the hedgerow thoroughly, but didn't find any more migrants, however my second Little Owl of the day was seen, it flew from the nearby run off pool into an apple tree in an adjacent garden. The KESTREL pair were up hunting over the Tree Nursery and Greenhouse Grounds, also in the Greenhouse grounds were another pair of Blackcaps, the male of which gave some subdued song.

A SPARROWHAWK flew past as I listened to the Blackcap, and a little later a BUZZARD flew low over, then folded its wings and dropped into the Greenhouse Copse.Not a bad couple of hours today then, considering the wind and rain  :-)

The camera stayed at home today, so here's the garden NUTHATCH and BLUE TIT from yesterday  :-)
Blue Tit
Blue Tit

Monday 24 September 2012

Welcome to Autumn! The first taste of Autumnal weather arrived this morning, light rain was followed by torrential rain, then strong and blustery winds. Needless to say it wasn't too good for patch watching, however it did stop raining once I got home from work, so I decided to pay a visit to the lakes, maybe something was sheltering from the elements there. I was disappointed though, as only a GREY HERON, two MALLARDS and a few MOORHEN were seen.

I quickly moved on, as the strong wind made it impossible to hear anything in the Scrubby Woods, and made my way over to the Tree Nursery and Migrant Alley, both these places were full of overflying SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS, a couple of hundred birds were whizzing around, mostly Swallows.

Migrant Alley looked Autumnal, as a flock of around 150 STARLINGS fed out in the sheep pasture, along with 100 or so JACKDAWS and ROOKS, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL went over, as did a few HERRING GULLS, and the KESTREL was seen up on the adjacent Greenhouse rooves, a CHIFFCHAFF was the only warbler seen, it fed in the tall hedge behind my sky watching seat, but apart from that it was a very subdued visit.

I was home by 16:00hrs, and spent 40 minutes in my garden shed, the sun had just started to break though allowing for some garden bird photography  :-)
I also took some more Blue Tit and Nuthatch photo's, but i'll save them for tomorrows blog  :-)

Sunday 23 September 2012

The forecast wind and rain duly arrived this morning, but not before I got a three hour full patch walk in, which proved to be much the same as yesterdays walk, although a new species was added to the months list when a MANDARIN DUCK (70) was seen flying over Migrant Alley, good to get the 70th species up, although i'm still 3 behind the average September tally of the last 5 years.

CHIFFCHAFFFS were fewer than yesterday, just 5 were noted, and BLACKCAPS were down to just a female seen at the Greenhouse Grounds, and a male at the Scrubby Woods. A single WHITETHROAT seen in the Tree Nursery was notable, as this will be recorded as the latest one seen on my patch. A few local SWALLOWS were still feeding over the area, while just one small flock of HOUSE MARTINS flew over Migrant Alley, the single YELLOW WAGTAIL that dropped into the sheep pasture there, made up the summer species for this morning.

The lakes had a couple of bits of interest today, a CORMORANT which was fishing there, and a KINGFISHER that zoomed from one lake to another, just 8 MALLARD and 6 MOORHEN were on the water with them.

TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, and COAL TIT were found in the Wet Woods, not in a feeding flock though, but Long Tailed Tit and Bullfinch successfully avoided detection today  :-)

KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK were the only raptors to show today, and flyovers from a lone GREYLAG GOOSE, plus HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS took the days list to 44, the same tally as yesterday.

In the ever diminishing light, photography was not particularly easy, but i did get a shot of this Kestrel.

Saturday 22 September 2012

As anticipated, this morning was cool and clear for the full patch walk, the visit lasted for 5 hours and produced a tally of 44 species, but quite a few common species went unrecorded, Bullfinch, Pheasant, Skylark, and both Greylag and Canada Geese among them.

Warblers, as expected, are now very thin on the ground, two single male BLACKCAPS were seen, one at the Greenhouse Grounds, the other over at the Scrubby Wood, and just one WHITETHROAT was found, this being at the Tree Nursery, however CHIFFCHAFFS were spread all over the place, with eleven birds found in all, one of them was still singing at the Small Holding area :-) The only other summer birds were a few local SWALLOWS and a couple of small groups of HOUSE MARTINS that passed over Migrant Alley.

Other notable species were a KINGFISHER at one of the ornamental ponds in the College Grounds, a group of three flyover CORMORANTS that flew over Migrant Alley, where a GREY WAGTAIL was also seen going over, plus 6 MEADOW PIPITS on the pasture/paddocks. Raptors today included the usual three species, those being KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK and BUZZARD.

Despite some nice light today, photo's were hard to come by, but the Meadow pipits again obliged, as did a Chiffchaff  :-)
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit

Friday 21 September 2012

Not much to see as I walked into work this morning, but a TREECREEPER singing at the College Grounds was a cheerful sound  :-)

Once again after work, I concentrated on Migrant Alley for a couple of hours, where I found two WHEATEAR  probably yesterdays birds, but you never know really, they were extremely wary however, and I was unable to get a photo of them. There was no sign of the Whinchat this afternoon, nor were there any Yellow Wagtails about, but the three small small flocks of LINNET, GOLDFINCH and MEADOW PIPIT were still feeding in the pasture/paddocks, around 15 of each species were present, also in the paddocks were a mobile flock of STARLINGS, around 120 of them fed erratically and warily, not surprising as the SPARROWHAWK came over three times whilst I was there!

Two JAYS made forays out onto the paddocks from the wooded headland, as did two adults and an immature GREEN WOODPECKER, each clinging to a post of its own, before dropping down to feed. The only flyovers noticed today were a lone GREYLAG GOOSE and two each of HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS, the HOUSE MARTIN passage of the last few days had slowed to a trickle of birds, with even fewer SWALLOWS with them, once again the only Warbler seen today was a CHIFFCHAFF, that was in the adjacent Greenhouse Grounds, where two KESTRELS were also seen, up on their respective hunting perches.

Tomorrow mornings full patch walk looks like it will be a cold and clear start, and Warblers will be few, if any, but that could be made up for by an Autumn migrant or two being found, a Lapwing flying over, or maybe a Reed Bunting would be nice, and take the months list into the 70's.

Just one species was photographed today, the Meadow Pipit :-
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit

Thursday 20 September 2012

A much more productive day today, which kicked off with a WHEATEAR and two flyover YELLOW WAGTAILS at Migrant Alley as I walked into work this morning.

My two hour visit this afternoon was spent entirely around the pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, where I relocated the Wheatear from this morning, only to find it had been joined by another, plus, a fantastic WHINCHAT!  I took some distant record photo's of the chats, and whilst in the process of doing so heard another Yellow wagtail, this one I picked up as it went over and watched it drop down into one of the paddocks, so off I went to try and get some photo's of it, which I succeeded in doing, although it was always a bit distant, but they were the best Yellow Wagtail photo's ive got to date  :-)

Also seen around the sheep pasture this afternoon were up to 15 MEADOW PIPITS, mixed in with half a dozen LINNETS and half a dozen GOLDFINCH. During the two hour visit the sky was full of HOUSE MARTINS again, as it has been all week really, only today they were very much lower, at times flying around just a meter or so from my head, smaller numbers of SWALLOWS were feeding with them, but I didn't notice any Sand martins today.

3 KESTRELS were noted, as well as a SPARROWHAWK, plus a COMMON BUZZARD was soaring over the Greenhouse Copse, the only warbler species seen today was CHIFFCHAFF, which was at the Greenhouse Grounds.

A fantastic couple of hours then, much more like September  :-)

Yellow Wagtail on one of the paddocks - a rare chance to photograph this passage species

 At On point the Yellow Wag flew off and alighted in a puddle caused by a leaking water trough, where it put on a bathing show, shame I had to shoot through two wire fences!  :-)
Bathing Yellow wagtail
One of the Meadow Pipits
Fantastic! Another Autumn Whinchat  :-)
The Wheatears were not very approachable today, but a decent enough record shot was obtained, the second bird can just be made out in the background

Wednesday 19 September 2012

I was out for a couple of hours again this afternoon, which proved to be a little better than yesterday, I found a group of half a dozen or so LONG TAILED TITS in the Tree Nursery, with them was a CHIFFCHAFF, a WHITETHROAT and a BLACKCAP a nice little trio of warblers :-)

Whilst stalking the above birds for a photo, but failing miserably, I noticed some small butterflies flying around some Fleabane, one turned out to be a Small copper, the other a Brown Argus, neither of these species have been seen since June!
Small Copper

HOUSE MARTINS and MEADOW PIPITS continue to go through on passage over Migrant Alley, the latter mainly in pairs, with the odd group of four, but the House Martins came through in pulses, at times filling the sky with hundreds of birds. Small numbers of SWALLOWS moved through with the Martins, but these were the only passage birds noted today.

A LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL flew over heading south, and a few HERRING GULLS moved around the area, KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK were seen up hunting, they were not joined by any other Raptor species today though.

A look over the Raspberry dump only found the regular BLACKBIRDS, DUNNOCKS, ROBINS, and WRENS, the latter were as bold as brass feeding just two feet from my boots, so I had to get some sort of photo  :-)

Tuesday 18 September 2012

I think we've all had this moment, when the Fox walks out from ahead of you
Things are still very 'Normal' out on my patch at the moment, my walks into and from work have been unproductive for passerine migrants as I cross Migrant Alley, and my afternoon walks have been fizzling out migrant wise too, with no more Whinchat, Wheatear or Yellow Wags being found for a while now.
However I always persevere, and i'm sure something will turn up to excite me before the migration season is out, that almost happened this afternoon, whilst I stood in an empty Tree Nursery I heard a totally unfamiliar call, a bit like a cross between a Littel Owl and a Jay, it was in flight and coming from behind the Greenhouses, I waited excitedly for it to appear, only to see it was a flaming Cockatiel! No wonder I didn't recognise the call :-)

The rest of the visit was much like yesterday, but only two raptor species were seen, SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL, good numbers of HOUSE MARTIN continue to pass through, and a few MEADOW PIPITS pass over from time to time, with the odd one dropping into the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley. The only warblers seen today were two CHIFFCHAFFS.

I was back home by 16:30hrs, so spent an hour or so in my shed hide, photographing the garden birds at the feeders, I got the NUTHATCH today, and was happier with these shots than the recent ones I took  :-)
Collared Dove

Monday 17 September 2012

A couple of hours were spent out this afternoon, visiting the usual spots on my patch where an Autumn migrant might turn up, but it was not to be today. A few passage MEADOW PIPITS flew over the Tree Nursery, where a couple of noisy JAYS flew from an Oak tree, the Pub Field was empty, but lots of HOUSE MARTINS where wheeling around high over it. Much scanning of fence lines and pasture/paddocks was done at Migrant Alley, but apart from a few GOLDFINCH and the usual ROOKS, JACKDAWS and WOODPIGEONS, all was quiet here, to fair be though there was quite a bit of disturbance today from dog walkers, tractors and stable girls mending the paddock fences  :-(

I ended up watching the sky from my seat, which proved the most productive part of the visit today, more Meadow Pipits, House Martins and a few SWALLOWS were seen, along with a few HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS, best of all was seeing four raptor species, those being KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK, COMMON BUZZARD and the bird of the day a HOBBY.

Even the Raspberry Dump was less active than usual, I had a peak over it as I walked home, and saw a CHIFFCHAFF, 4 WRENS, 2 ROBINS and 2 DUNNOCKS, but resisted the temptation of a photo, in fact i didn't get any photo's whilst out today, and even though I spent 40 minutes in my garden hide (shed!) not much turned up, I missed the NUTHATCH, and a fine looking Immature STARLING, so all I can offer are these, not the best efforts though  :-)
I was so close to this COLLARED DOVE I didn't need to crop the photo at all, I should have backed the zoom off to get its tail and feet in!
These young GREENFINCH'S are not much to look at now, but come the winter they will be little green stunners :-)
BLUE TIT, most of this years young are now acquiring there adult plumage

Sunday 16 September 2012

Comma - still a few on the wing today

The full patch walk today was a bit more lively than yesterdays, I was out for a bit longer as well, allowing me to record 50 species, that's 8 more than yesterday.

Once the temperature got up a bit, the birds started to appear, the college Grounds was good for a few species, with a flock of 8 - 12 LONG TAILED TITS seen feeding along a line of Douglas firs, with them were at least 2 COAL TITS, 2 GOLDCREST, a NUTHATCH, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, and small numbers of BLUE and GREAT TITS. A GREY WAGTAIL flew over whilst I watched the feeding activity, always a good species to find on my patch.

Walking back out into Migrant Alley, I saw hundreds of HOUSE MARTINS feeding over the paddocks and pasture, the flock extended out over the Greenhouse Grounds and beyond into the Tree Nursery, with them were fewer SWALLOWS, some migrant, but the local ones are still on patch and were mixed with them, a nice bonus within the House Martin flock was finding at least 4 SAND MARTIN (68) a new species for the September list, the hirundine passage continued on for most of the day as did the MEADOW PIPIT passage, with singles and groups of up to four passing through all morning. It was nice to see the STARLING flock out on the sheep pasture, up to 60 were present, hopefully numbers will build throughout he Autumn  :-)

The walk through the Small Holding, Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods was more active than of late, I found GREEN WOODPECKERS, a couple more Great Spotted Woodpeckers, another Coal Tit, another couple of Nuthatch, small groups of GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH and GREENFINCH and at least 4 more Goldcrests, a couple of warbler species were seen in the Scrubby Woods, they being CHIFFCHAFF and BLACKCAP.

The adjacent lake was bust today ( relative to normal that is!)  4 MALLARD, 6 MOORHEN, a GREY HERON and a KINGFISHER were all seen, then as I watched over the water, 2 CORMORANTS dropped in to fish  :-)

I made my way over to the Tree Nursery, which is just too over grown to search properly now, but I did what I could and found a couple more Green Woodpeckers, as well as the regular WRENS, DUNNOCKS, ROBINS, BLACKBIRDS and WOODPIGEONS, the latter had two STOCK DOVES with them as they flew up. A PIED WAGTAIL flew over, and as I watched it through my bins, a gull was seen behind it, this turned out to be my first COMMON GULL (69) this month, a bit of luck  :-)

I ended the visit back at the Greenhouse Grounds, where a WHITETHROAT was still present, I had a look over the Raspberry dump, which had at least 6 Wrens creeping about all over it, plus DUNNOCKS, BLACKBIRDS and two Chiffchaffs, all of which I declined to take photo's of, as you're all probably fed up with 'Raspberry Dump' shots of these species!  ( ok, later in the afternoon, I succumbed, and took a couple of Chiffchaff photo's!) A COMMON BUZZARD was seen flying low over the Greenhouses, but against the light it wasn't a candidate for a photo.

During the afternoon I had a sky watch for Raptors, which produced more KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK sightings, but nothing much else. Not a bad visit today  :-)

So here's the 'Raspberry Dump' Chifchaff, at least I got it doing something different today!

Chiffchaff enjoying a good scratch!
Chiffchaff - post itch!
This BLACKBIRD was nearby, they have started on the supply of Hawthorn Berries, they will soon have to share with the winter thrushes though  :-)
No Wheatears or Whinchats on the fence lines at Migrant Alley today, just another Green Woodpecker
Green woodpecker one of at least 6 seen today