Monday 30 June 2014

The last patch visit for the month didn't provide me with any new species for the June list, which ends on a very respectable 65 species, which is the 5th best June total, joint with the Junes of 2009 and 2012 and only 3 off the record total, only one species was added to the combined 13 year June tally, that was the Tufted Duck. In all then, not too bad considering I was away for 15 days  :-) It was still a bit disappointing however, not to have found a Turtle Dove or Yellowhammer, both species have declined dramatically here, the Yellowhammer for instance has been recorded on just 16% of full patch walks this year, compare that to when I first started recording the birds here, back in 2002, when Yellowhammers were seen on 86% of full patch walks. It's even worse for the Turtle Dove, so far this year I have recorded it on just 3% of full patch walks, in 2002 it was recorded on 33% !  ( I do 120 full patch walks each year)

Back to this morning, where I at last added a SONGTHRUSH to the 2014 ''Successfully bred'' list, the 39th species to do so, it had been fledged for a while as you can see in the image below, but it was no doubt hatched on my patch.

Immature Songthrush, found in the Greenhouse Grounds

There were also families of WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP and WREN at the Greenhouse Grounds

Juvenile Blackcap

Juvenile Wren

The early sunshine only lasted until around 10:00hrs, but it gave me a chance to photograph these LINNETS that were on the fence line and hedgerow at Migrant Alley.

What a stunner !

My sky watch produced two Gull species, those being LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULL, plus a pair of SPARROWHAWKS up hunting, and a COMMON BUZZARD, the KESTREL family were all accounted for after one had found it's way into one of the greenhouses yesterday  :-)  I also noted quite a large congregation of SWIFTS, at least 60 were feeding quite high up over the Wet Woods and Ashes Lane Fields.

SWALLOW on the cables above Ashes Lane


Sunday 29 June 2014

The penultimate patch walk of June was a rather uninspiring affair, undertaken in overcast conditions with a cooling breeze blowing.

I started off with a skywatch at 06:30hrs from my seat at Migrant Alley, ever hopeful of adding Hobby or Peregrine to the months list, or maybe a flyover Yellowhammer, but they were not forthcoming, it's unusual not to see a Hobby here in June when in past years I have had multiple sightings, I had to make do instead with a pair of SPARROWHAWKS, a pair of BUZZARDS and the ever entertaining KESTREL family, one of which seems to have got itself inside one of the large Greenhouses, lets hope it can extract itself! Not much else flew over, just a flock of 4 HERRING GULLS, a few SWIFTS and a party of HOUSE MARTINS.

My next idea was to go over to the lakes and Scrubby Woods to see if I could find any newly fledged bird species to add to the 2014 breeding list, as well as maybe find the Turtle Dove that was here last month, but again I failed on both counts. On a slightly more positive note, I did find a decent sized feeding flock of BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, COAL TIT and a last LONG TAILED TITS, most of the latter being immature birds.

Nothing much happening on the Lakes, a GREY HERON was fishing on the main lake, the MUTE SWAN and COOT families are faring well on the ornamental lake, where I saw plenty of damsels and Dragonflies, but all tantalizingly out of my reach, being on private land  :-(

That was about it for today..........I said it was an uninspiring visit! Maybe things will take a turn for the better for the last day of the month   :-)

Ive a few odds and sods images to post from Wales, next week i'll post a page for each of the Greywagtail, Siskin and Wheatear images I have yet to edit.......time permitting!

Stock Dove

Stock Dove, I don't get many images of these on my patch at all.

Stock Dove

I certainly dont get these on my patch.....Tree Pipit, well, I did once, just a flyover  :-)

No chance of one of these Dippers flyover though! I got a few record shots of these Wales specialities

They were always distant and in dark places !

Saturday 28 June 2014

The threat of thundery downpours was again present during this mornings patch visit, however, once again we got away with a mainly dry, but mostly cloudy morning here  :-)

 Chaffinch ( a welsh one!)

During the five hour walk I recorded 47 species, nothing new for the June list though, with the most likely candidates of Yellowhammer, Hobby, Turtle Dove and Peregrine all still avoiding my patch. There were no new species added to the 2014 ''successfully bred'' list either, with Songthrush and Collared Dove being the most obvious omissions.

Most of the resident birds here are now busy feeding fledglings however, with a few species bringing up second broods or maybe late ones. One of those species was the GOLDCREST two new families were found in the Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods.

Treecreeper ( again a welsh bird!)

BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, JAY, STOCK DOVE, GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were all seen in the Scrubby/Wet Woods, but there has been no sign of a Long Tailed Tit here since early June.

The lakes had 24 CANADA GEESE and 4 GREYLAG GEESE, all with mixed age young with them, just 3 MALLARDS were present, a scattering of MOORHENS, plus the MUTE SWAN and COOT families.

Flyover were few, but included GREY HERON, BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULL, BUZZARD and a few parties of SWIFTS. All four KESTREL young were seen around the Greenhouse Grounds, where at least 3 WHITETHROAT families have now fledged. A LITTLE OWL called from the adjacent Greenhouse Copse, but that was about it for today.

Ive set up another page with images of Pied Flycatchers that I took in Wales, you can click here to view them, or click on the tab labelled ''Pied Flycatchers'' that can be found under the header image. Here's couple to kick off with  :-)

Friday 27 June 2014

With heavy downpours forecast for mid morning onwards I was reticent to wander too far from home this morning, so I spent 3 hours sky watching over the fields of Migrant Alley, I then did a circuit of the sheep pasture and paddocks at Migrant Alley before walking the perimeter of the Ashes Lane Field, all are within a quick dash of home if necessary !

I was searching for my first Yellowhammer of the month, or maybe a Hobby, chasing the plentiful SWALLOWS over the sheep pasture, a sighting of one of the Peregrine pair that haven't been seen this month was also high on the wanted list, alas, none of above were added to the June tally :-(

I watched a few single HERRING GULLS fly over, and more unusually for June 8 BLACK HEADED GULLS, 4 singles and a group of 4. A GREY HERON went low over, but that was about it for passing species. Behind my sky watching seat, in the Greenhouse Grounds, I could here a new family of WRENS calling, as well as a new family of DUNNOCKS, the WHITETHROATS scolded as they carried food to their fledged young, a CHIFFCHAFF sang, as did a BLACKCAP very briefly.

The local BUZZARDS were up soaring, and a SPARROWHAWK got mobbed by a mixed flock of Swallows, HOUSE MARTINS and SWIFTS. The KESTREL family had spread themselves over the area, many sightings were had of them and they continually spooked the 30-40 STARLINGS that fed in the sheep pasture, the flock contained a few second broods of juvenile birds, that was good to see.

In the Ashes Lane Field, a flock of 30 - 35 GOLDFINCH fed amongst a large patch of thistles, a SKYLARK was up singing and 4 STOCK DOVES flew up from the mown grass. The sky started to get cloudier and the horizon looked dark so I headed off home, hoping to beat those heavy, thundery downpours that were apparently imminent.

Of course, once home, the clouds dissipated, the day became sunny and warm without a single drop of rain, I should have gone out again but I had started work on editing more of my photo's that I had taken in Wales, so I can at least put a few more of those up. I also noted a pair of BULLFINCH in my garden as I took a break from the keyboard, very nice species to see, the 30th to visit my little oasis this year  :-)

Bullfinch in my garden, how lucky am I  :-)

Not the best of shots, unfortunatley the light in my garden is always poor and coming from the wrong angle at this time of year, I really want them to visit in the winter.
Male Bullfinch, munching in the weedy borders  :-)

Ive edited a few more images from my Wales holiday, here's a few Meadow Pipits.

Thursday 26 June 2014

The skies were clear first thing this morning, but cloud rapidly moved in as I sat and watched the sky from my seat at Migrant Alley. Not a great deal was seen, but one bird of note was a SISKIN (65) that was heard as it flew over, I dont think this is an early Autumn arrival, it may be a local breeder, anyway its a good species for the June list  :-)  The Greenhouse Grounds KESTREL family were seen up hunting over and around the Greenhouses and Migrant Alley, the only other raptors seen were BUZZARDS, 3 of which called loudly from over the Wet Woods. LESSER BLACK BACKED and HERRING GULLS made up the passing species.

Common Buzzard

A SKYLARK sang from above the Ashes Lane Field as I made my way to the lakes, which were a bit less busy than yesterday, most of the Geese had moved to the adjacent horse paddocks, leaving just 4 CANADA GEESE and 6 GREYLAG GEESE on the main lake. The MUTE SWAN and COOT pair are continuing to feed their respective young on the ornamental lake, a few MOORHEN families were also there, with just 3 MALLARDS.

The Scrubby Woods were very quiet, the only song being from the odd CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP and DUNNOCK, plus calls from BULLFINCH and NUTHATCH.

This afternoon,  I tried for some Butterfly and Dragonfly photo's, but with the sunshine being a bit hit and miss, little was found. I did however come face to face with a Roe Buck, which pranced away as I lifted my camera, just a shame I had the 100mm lens on and left the focus on manual, so I didn't even get an in focus shot! here they are anyway  :-)

Off and away before I could focus on it!

At least a record shot anyway!

Might as well put a few images from wales up, these Stonechats looked picturesque on the foxgloves, my images didn't quite come out that way though!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Broken cloud and sunny spells were order of the day today, where on a five hour patch visit I managed to winkle out 'a very good for June' 51 bird species, even though the likes of Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tit, Mistle Thrush, Pheasant and Greenfinch failed to join my daylist.

I decided to have an early sky watch from my seat at Migrant Alley first thing this morning, I didn't see too much flying over, 13 LAPWING were the most surprising sighting, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, HERRING GULL, BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and four of the KESTREL family were the other highlights.

 One of the fully fledged Kestrels

                  This WHITETHROAT was feeding youngsters in the Greenhouse Grounds

I added another successful breeder to the patch year list when two recently fledged GREEN WOODPECKERS were seen in the Scrubby Woods, it was here I added another Butterfly species to my 2014 list, a fantastic Silver Washed Fritillary, very scarce here and not seen in every year, unfortunately it wouldn't settle for a photo, maybe i'll find it on another visit. I did get a record shot of a Brown Hawker however, it was hiding deep in a nettle bed, and proved difficult to photograph.

Brown Hawker

The lakes were pretty busy this morning, 42 CANADA GEESE and 13 GREYLAG GEESE all with various aged young with them, plus a female MANDARIN DUCK and a GREY HERON had joined the regular MUTE SWANS, COOTS, MALLARDS and MOORHENS.

Two LITTLE OWLS were noted, one called from the Greenhouse Copse, the other was seen in the old shack at the Ashes Lane Field.

A short afternoon visit to look for over flying Hobby wasn't successful, and I ended up chasing butterflies and Damselflies around the Greenhouse Grounds!


 Common Blue Damselfly
Ive added yet another page of Golden Ringed Dragonflies, I got a bit obsessed with them on holiday, you can click here to see another 12 photo's of them, or click on the tab labelled ''more Golden Ringed Dragonflies'',  found under the page header.

Yet Another Golden Ringed Dragonfly!

Tuesday 24 June 2014

The initial early sunshine disappeared under low cloud and mist by 06:30 this morning - rather disappointing! The sun broke through for short periods of time during the rest of the 4 hour patch visit though, making it feel pleasantly warm.

I'm still on the lookout for newly fledged young, with the likes of Collared Dove, Songthrush, and Chiffchaff still to be confirmed as successful breeders on my patch, I know they have attempted to but I again found no young for them this morning. No new species were added to the June list either, which at 64 is only 4 species behind the record June total, I could yet add Hobby, Peregrine, Yellowhammer and Turtle Dove before the end of the month though  :-)

Of the 48 species I did encounter today, there few highlights really, two CORMORANT flew over early on, only the second record this month, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL also went over with a couple of HERRING GULLS, June is a poor month for Gull species here, so it was good to get those on todays list. A few SWIFTS were feeding high up, and a party of HOUSE MARTINS fed over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, along with a few families of SWALLOWS, their numbers are building now, so a Hobby may take some interest soon!

SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were the only raptors over my patch today, with 3 young Kestrels still hanging around the Greenhouse Grounds, Buzzards were around but high up and off my patch.

A short afternoon visit over to the drainage ditch at Migrant Alley to get some Common Darter photo's was partially successful, but the sun kept hiding behind the building clouds. I added Red Eyed to the Damselfly year list earlier whilst at the lakes, but they are too far to photograph.

Common Darter, Immature. At least 15 of these flew from a patch of Bur Reed as I passed.

Immature Common Darter

Immature Common Darter

Whilst on the subject of Dragons and Damsels, i'll post a few more that were seen in wales last week  :-)

Four Spotted Chaser

Four Spotted Chaser

Small Red Damselfly, a new species for me  :-)

Small Red Damselfly

Small Red damselfly

Golden Ringed Dragonfly

Golden Ringed Dragonfly

Ive got lots of Golden Ringed Dragonfly pics, i've posted a separate page for the series of shots of the one above eating a bumble bee. Click here to view it, or click on the tab under my header photo labelled ''Golden Ringed Dragonfly at Lunch''