Thursday 1 August 2013

It was a bit disappointing to start the first full patch walk of the new month in a blanket of dense fog, it did eventually clear however, leaving a hot and sunny day.

Setting off along Ashes lane, the fog prevented much from being seen, GOLDFINCH, CARRION, CROW, BLUE TIT, COLLARED DOVE, WOODPIGEON, WREN and DUNNOCK were all heard though. The first bird seen was at the Greenhouse Grounds, when two GREEN WOODPECKERS flew up in front of me, one being the first young bird seen this year. Further sightings emerged from the gloom, MAGPIE, JACKDAW, ROBIN and BLACKBIRD all showed up.

The sheep pasture and paddocks at Migrant Alley were masked with fog, visibility was down to 75 yards, only allowing me to see a few ROOKS on the fence lines, along with, more unusually, a HERRING GULL. The Wooded Headland only yielded a JAY plus a few SWALLOWS that zipped along the trackway. Crossing over into the Arable fields, the bean crop that was visible was devoid of birds, but a SKYLARK was heard calling up above the fog somewhere, and a LINNET was found in one of the hedgerows.

I had just 18 bird species on my list as I reached my Skywatching seat, very poor  :-(  As I sat though, The fog rapidly began to clear, and the birds appeared as if by magic  :-) My view into the Greenhouse Grounds had me watching two young KESTRELS on the glass house roof, while the vegetation and brambles there came alive with families of  WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, and CHAFFINCH as well as a CHIFFCHAFF and better still a LESSER WHITETHROAT. A couple of PIED WAGTAILS flew onto the Greenhouses, then SONGTHRUSH, GREAT TIT, and GREENFINCH showed up. A flock of 30-40 STARLINGS dropped into the sheep pasture, then the missing Geese showed up, 60-70 CANADA GEESE flew low over, and a few minutes later 100+ GREYLAGS did likewise. I watched the sky for 20 minutes or so, and saw GREY HERON, BLACK HEADED GULL, STOCK DOVE and SWIFT go over, taking the list to a much more realistic 35  :-)

I headed off home for a snack and drink, and waved off my wife as she left for her holiday with her friend, no time for holidays for me, not at this time of year! As I left for the second half of the walk a GREY WAGTAIL flew over my house, a nice species to get this early in the month  :-) I made my way to the Scrubby woods via the Small holding and Wet Woods, adding HOUSE SPARROW and YELLOWHAMMER that were seen along High House Lane. I checked for the Spotted Flycatcher at the western end of Ashes lane but it was not found. In the Small holding I had views of NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER and GOLDCREST, but the Wet woods only provided the days list with GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER.

At the Lakes and Scrubby Woods I found MALLARD and MOORHEN on the water, no Coot, i'll be fortunate to get this species for the august list, now that the family party have dispersed. I was fortunate enough to glimpse a KINGFISHER as it zipped across the maim lake though.

In the Scrubby Woods, the only birds found for the days list were BULLFINCH and COAL TIT, no Long Tailed Tit today, or more annoyingly Turtle Dove, after seeing then so well yesterday.

I made my way to the final part of my patch, the Ashes lane field, but as I walked into the field from the Wet woods I heard an unfamiliar call from above, looking up I soon recalled the call, as no less than 11 COMMON CROSSBILLS (99) flew over ! A cracking addition to my year list, and only the second ever year list to have this species on it, now I would have missed those if I had gone on holiday!

By the end of my walk I had 48 species on the list, and later added SPARROWHAWK when one visited my garden feeders, a good start to August then  :-)
A new Odonata species was found at the run off pool in the Ashes lane Field
A smart Ruddy Darter
This is the first Ruddy darter here for at least two years
This species can be quite tolerant, eventually, and allow close approach
Female Common Darter
This Broad Bodied chaser was the first ive seen since June
Peacock Butterfly


Marc Heath said...

Well done with the Ruddy. Seems a good year for them. I had a brilliant day today, lets just say it ended with 3 Purple Emperors!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Crossbills , a nice start to the new month , they seem to be popping up all over at the moment , well done .
Your Com. Darter I would say is a female , from the end of the abdomen , no claspers .

Alan Pavey said...

Well done with Crossbills Mate, I know you have been waiting for them to show themselves for a while :-)