Sunday 30 June 2013

The final patch visit of June was undertaken in some fine, warm and sunny conditions, I visited the arable fields with the hedgerows and ditches via the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley, then went on to the Scrubby Woods and lakes, a four hour wander, that like yesterday, produced a disappointing total of just 41 bird species, however not being a full patch walk, and without a sky watch I suppose a few species would have been missed  :-)

Not much to say about what was found, but like yesterday the calling BUZZARDS soaring up high were a highlight, and it was interesting watching the interaction of a family party of both NUTHATCH and COAL TIT in the Scrubby Woods, the young of which were trying to ''out beg'' each other as the respective parents came to feed them.

Only the regular summer birds were encountered, SWALLOWS, SWIFTS, CHIFFCHAFFS, COMMON WHITETHROATS and BLACKCAPS, though I suspect the Lesser Whitethroats may be lurking around the Wooded Headland still.

Other notables were the KESTREL pair up hunting, a pair of BULLFINCH, a fly over GREY HERON and a LITTLE OWL which called from the Greenhouse Copse.

With nothing being added to this months list, it finishes on 66 species, exactly the mean average for the past 5 June tallies and 2 ahead of the 12 year mean, so not too bad really, plus it was only two species behind the record June tally of 2010, putting it in 4th place overall. Looking at the 12 year combined list for June, it now sits at 88, and was incremented by the Egyptian Goose this year, so maybe I could have expected on or two more species  :-)

The year list is stagnating on 97 species, but tomorrow the new month begins, July can often bring the first of the returning summer Migrants,  Sand Martin, Whimbrel, Stonechat, Whinchat, and Wheatear, have all passed through here during July, not very often, but it can happen, any three of the first 4 on that list will bring up the 100 species for the year  :-)

I got a few photo's today, but not as many as I would have liked  ;-)
Immature ROBIN
Azure Damselfly
Large Red Damselfly
COLLARED DOVE from my garden
Immature Starling, also from my garden
Adult Starling
Last of all, a smooth newt, I snapped it at my garden pond as it came up for air  :-)

Saturday 29 June 2013

This morning was disappointingly overcast, with quite a breeze blowing, finding the birdlife proved to be difficult, with not much about at all really.

My early visit to the Arable fields, hedgerows and ditches, Via the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley provided me with few songsters, but BLACKCAP, WHITETHROAT and CHIFFCHAFF were among them, also a YELLOWHAMMER was seen making foraging flights from a hedgerow to the bean fields then back again.

The cloud thinned and started to break as I made my way over to the Scrubby Woods and lakes, where the water was occupied by 16 CANADA GEESE with a creche of immature birds, those, a couple of MOORHEN, a GREY HERON and the COOT family made up the species here.

In the Adjacent Scrubby Woods I continued my search to add successfully bred species to the year list, alas none were found though, but there were plenty of already recorded fledged young about, including BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, BLACKCAP, TREECREEPER, CHAFFINCH and WREN.

The meager list of 41 species for the 4 hour walk was particularly poor for the time of year, I think the highlight was watching three BUZZARDS circling over the Greenhouse Complex as I walked home, each gave that far carrying ''mewing'' call, a superb sound echoing across the ever brightening sky  :-)

After lunch, the day had brightened and warmed considerably, so I went out, camera in hand, on a Butterfly and Dragon/damselfly hunt. I found White-legged, Azure, Large Red and Common Blue Damsels and a rather obliging Emperor Dragonfly, on the butterfly list was Small White, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
Meadow Brown Butterfly
Immature Male ( I think!) White-legged Damselfly
Female White-legged Damselfly
Hoverfly, - Volucella Pellucens
Male Emperor Dragonfly
Emperor Dragonfly
I got good and close to this one  :-)
Then Closer still  :-)

Friday 28 June 2013

No patch visit was made today, a real rarity! Given that the weather has deteriorated again today, I caught up on some urgent business that needed attending to, thus freeing me up for future patch visits  :-)

I'll just post a few photo's today, the GOLDCREST was taken from my bathroom window early this morning, it has taken to attacking it's own reflection in the window, making darting sorties from the leylandi tree just 2 meters away, the light is a bit dim, but the images came out good enough!
CHAFFINCH, from the garden feeders
GOLDFINCH, also at the Garden Feeders
Juvenile GREAT TIT, one of dozens of Juvenile bird species that are at my garden feeders!
Female Common Blue Butterfly
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Thursday 27 June 2013

There was a little more sunshine this morning, and it felt warmer with little or no wind, making for a very pleasant 5 hours out on patch today  :-)

During the 5 hours I tallied up 49 species, a good total for a June day, but the likes of Long Tailed Tit and Sparrowhawk, normally regulars, could of taken the day list to over 50. One of the highlights of the walk was finding a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER at the western end of Ashes lane, there used to be a regular pair here many years ago, so hopefully they will re-establish the territory, especially as the only other pair are over at the college grounds, a place I no longer visit.

The search to add successful breeding birds to the years list received a real boost today, when 4 new species were seen with recently fledged young, the first being a CHIFFCHAFF, a family group were seen in a hedgerow over at the bean fields. This was added to when I at last saw a DUNNOCK family, two young were being fed at the Wooded Headland, the third species was well overdue as well, I spied a MISTLE THRUSH on one of the raspberry support poles at the Greenhouse Grounds, a quick scan around soon found the other adult with a recently fledged youngster. Last but not least, a real treat was had when I found a pair of BULLFINCH over at the Scrubby Woods, these were feeding at least two youngsters, good to see these breeding successfully here  :-)

Whilst over at the Scrubby Woods, I was tipped off that a Painted lady Butterfly had been spotted on some garden Valerian ( thanks K & A for that, and allowing me to access your garden for the photo's!) This was the first sighting of the year for me, the 15 butterfly species this year.
Painted Lady, my first of 2013
Painted Lady
Other notables seen today were a GREY HERON on the Lakes, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, and NUTHATCH in the Wet Woods, LITTLE OWL calling from the Small Holding and also the Greenhouse Copse, and 3 gull species flying over, BLACK HEADED, HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACKED, two raptor species were seen today, COMMON BUZZARD, of which two circled high over the Greenhouses, and KESTREL which posed nicely on said Greenhouses for a photo  :-)
Kestrel - Female

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Some small chinks of blue appeared in the sky early this morning, allowing a few short lived sunny spells, but it soon clouded over, making for a mostly sunless patch visit today.

Without the sun, the bird life seemed to go back into hiding again, the four hour visit produced only 44 species, but I suppose that's about average for this time of year.  It was noticeable that there were fewer SWIFTS in the sky this morning, surely they haven't started on their way back to Africa already! The other summer migrants here, WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, SWALLOW and CHIFFCHAFF all showed well this morning, giving occasional bursts of song too as I walked the bean fields, where YELLOWHAMMER and SKYLARK were singing, there was no sign of the Lesser Whitethroat at the Wooded Headland today though.

My half hour stop at my sky watching seat at Migrant Alley didn't get me any new species for the month, I only need to find two more to equal the best June tally, but just 4 days to find them now  :-) I did see a couple of HERRING GULLS, a single LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and a pair of MALLARD fly over, plus the usual three raptor species of KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK and COMMON BUZZARD.

A visit to the Small Holding, Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods didn't yield any more new breeding species for this year, but TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, WREN, ROBIN, BLUE and GREAT TIT were all dashing about with food for their respective fledged young. A LITTLE OWL called from the Small Holding, one of three pairs on my patch, surely they will have bred and the young be heard soon ?

A mix a photo's for todays post, the first three were taken this morning, and the NUTHATCH from my garden this afternoon the rest are from yesterday  :-)
Common Whitethroat, this is one of the pair from the Greenhouse Grounds

Goldcrest, this was singing from my garden boundary as I left this morning
Nuthatch, one of two that have returned to my garden now they have finished breeding
White-legged Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly, female
Large Skipper
Large Skipper
Large Skipper
Large Skipper

Tuesday 25 June 2013

At last the sun was shining for my patch visit this morning and the wind had dropped out, what a difference it makes !

A few more species were added to yesterdays sightings, one of those was a flyover GREY HERON, not seen one for a couple of weeks now, also seen was a smart looking male HOBBY that sped over the bean fields behind Migrant Alley, a SPARROWHAWK also showed up today, making it a four raptor species day, with the KESTREL at the Greenhouse Grounds and 3 BUZZARDS that were soaring high over it  :-)

Highlight of the day for me though was finding a LESSER WHITETHROAT (66) at the Wooded Headlands to the north of Migrant Alley, it was scolding me constantly, so who knows it could be breeding here, it is a traditional breeding place for them, but it has been very secretive if it is breeding, ive not had a sniff of a Lesser Whitethroat since the middle of last month. It's a relief to have seen it though, as i've never not seen a Lesser Whitethroat on my patch in June, the months list moves up to 4th best from 12 with this addition  :-)

My continuing search for successful breeding species was also more fruitful today, when I found a family of GOLDCRESTS at the Small Holding, the 32nd species to have successfully reared young on my patch so far this year  :-)

Later this afternoon, as the day warmed up, I went and searched for some butterflies, I visited the Greenhouse Grounds as this is just about the last place left on my patch with any suitable habitat. I wasn't expecting much, however I was pleasantly surprised to find not only singles of Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortioseshell, but also my first Large Skipper and Meadow Browns of the year, fortunately I got a few photo's to show  :-)

Before I post those photo's though, i thought I'd show you these two, they're of the BLACKBIRD that is nesting in my neighbours garden ( the same that nested in my garden earlier in the year, but were predated) I was a bit miffed when I saw it taking a slow worm from my garden to feed to its young, slow worms are a real rarity in my garden!
Not the best images, but you can make out the poor slow worm!
I hope the young of this pair dont get predated after eating my slow worms!
Anyway back to the Butterflies  :-)
Small tortoiseshell, what a little stunner  :-)
First Large Skipper for the year, 8 days later than last years and 25 days later than 2011
Large Skipper
Large Skipper
Meadow Brown, first of year, 12 days later than 2012, and a month later than 2011 !
Meadow Brown

Monday 24 June 2013

Once again it was cool and overcast this morning, with a bit of a breeze, but I did get round for a full patch walk, as it was at least dry today  :-)

I headed off for the arable part of my patch first, via the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley, and found just 30 species by the time I had looped back round to Migrant Alley for a sky watch at my seat there. The best of those species seen, were a pair of BULLFINCH at the Greenhouse Grounds, where the KESTREL was hunting, a flock of 50+ SWIFTS over the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley and a YELLOWHAMMER singing in one of the hedgerows along the bean fields. CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, WHITETHROAT and SWALLOW were the only summer birds singing, but of the resident birds, SONGTHRUSH, CHAFFINCH, SKYLARK, WREN, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, GOLDCREST, and BLACKBIRD were all in song too. My 40 minute sky watch produced added just 4 species to the day list, with three of those being Gulls, HERRING, BLACK HEADED and LESSER BLACK BACKED, the other was a very tatty looking BUZZARD that was in moult.

Next destination was the Scrubby Woods and Lakes, via the Small Holding and Wet Woods, where I did manage to find a few more bits and pieces, making the day list up to 48. Nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing to add to the months list! Of interest, were families of TREECREEPER, COAL TIT and NUTHATCH, also five MALLARDS that had appeared on the lakes with the CANADA and GREYLAG GEESE.

Walking back home through the Ashes lane Field, the 'tatty' Buzzard flew out from a mature Oak, and set of the last species off the day calling - a LITTLE OWL, that was somewhere in the same tree  :-)

49 species for the day was quite a good total really, cant complain at that on my patch, but it would have been nice to get one more new species for the month, and maybe to have found some more species that have successfully bred.

The camera stayed at home today - again, the early gloom is just rubbish for photography! I did however get a couple of photo's from my garden feeders, during a fleeting bright spell this afternoon.
HOUSE SPARROW, a real treat for my garden  :-)
 desperate for food to feed their nestlings at this time of year,even my garden gets a visit!

Sunday 23 June 2013

The strong breeze was still blowing the odd shower and dark clouds across the sky this morning, a typical Autumnal day....trouble is, it's meant to be mid -Summer  :-)

I spent the early part of the morning around the Greenhouse grounds and Migrant Alley, its here i'm most likely to add a new species for the months list, probably involving a flyover over, but nothing new showed up.

There was more bird song today than in recent days, 2 COMMON WHITETHROATS were singing from the hedgerow along Ashes lane, and another was seen at the Greenhouse Grounds, where a SONGTHRUSH and a BLACKCAP were singing.  My skywatch from my seat at Migrant Alley produced three raptor species, KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK and BUZZARD, as well two gull species, LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULL, but as I said, nothing new for the months list was seen.

I decided to have a check over at the Scrubby Woods for some newly fledged young, and despite the wind, found a party of mixed species, all with young in tow, WREN, ROBIN, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, BLUE TIT, and GREAT TIT, were feeding hidden, calling young, and with them was a NUTHATCH family, I found them at last! Another for this years 'successfully bred' list   :-)

A scan over the adjacent Lakes was had, and 21 CANADA GEESE with 5 immatures were on the water, along with a pair of GREYLAGS with 3 immatures. The 3 COOT young were also present, and are almost independent now  :-)

I was surprised to see on my wanderings, in the cool conditions, both Red Admiral and Peacock Butterflies, as well as a few Speckled Wood, a Four Spotted Chaser was also seen in the grassland of the Ashes Lane Field, boding well for next week, when the weather is meant to pick up a bit  :-)

I'm already looking forward to getting a full patch walk under way tomorrow morning, the first since the 18th.

Nothing for the camera from this mornings visit, so its back to the ''blog Folder'', which needs filling up again!
Immature Starling