Sunday 30 November 2014

The morning flattered to deceive, with early brightness that urged me to take my camera out, soon disappearing under grey clouds, on the plus side though it remained dry and relatively windless  :-)

I headed for the lakes first thing, crossing the Ashes Lane Fields on the way, where I saw a flyover of 44 FIELDFARE, plus 8 MEADOW PIPITS in the grassland. The lakes had a CORMORANT fishing, but nothing else was visiting, the KINGFISHER was seen again, I hope it stays around for the December species list!

A SONGTHRUSH was singing in the Scrubby Woods and a pair of COAL TITS gathered seed from a conifer tree, which was home to a GOLDCREST. Only one BULLFINCH was seen, in what was a very quiet Scrubby Woods today.

I checked the Wet Woods just in case there was a Mandarin Duck lurking for the months list, but alas, that one has eluded the November tally this year. There was a party of 8 LONG TAILED TITS there though, with a few BLUE and GREAT TITS and another Goldcrest.

I made my way over to the Greenhouse Grounds, finding the female KESTREL sitting on one of the glasshouses, two YELLOWHAMMERS flew over and a GREYWAGTAIL dropped into the small reservoir area, another species I hope I can get on the December list! I scanned the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, finding the usual STARLING flock of 200-250 birds, plus the ROOKS and JACKDAWS, turning to scan the fields adjacent to High House lane, I could see a BUZZARD feeding, and a few SKYLARK flying low over the bean crop.

So the month ends on a quiet visit, but this November was far from quiet, as already mentioned yesterday it was a record breaking November, with 70 species being found, two better than the previous best tally of 2010. Two of those species were new to any November, the Tufted Duck and the Barnacle Goose, how has that managed to avoid detection in previous Novembers ?  :-)  They bring the combined 13 year November tally to 89, which happens to be the same as June, it is the third lowest combined tally, only January and February have lower totals.

I'm looking forward to next months challenge, the December record stands at 72 species, a record that I think will stand for a long time, as that December had some extremely cold weather, sending all sorts of species my way! I'll be happy with 61 species though, as that will take the average species total seen per month for this year to exactly 70, a feat only achieved once before, in that bumber year of 2010.

Just one photo taken today, a snatched shot of a HOUSE SPARROW making the most of a battered hedgrow for some cover.

Saturday 29 November 2014

The expected sunshine didn't turn up until almost 11:00hrs this morning, when I had almost finished my full patch walk, however once the sun did come out it turned very warm for the time of year, later in the afternoon I found both Comma and Peacock Butterflies in my garden!

I found 41 species today, 2 less than yesterday, but there were a few species found this morning that weren't on yesterdays list, the first of those was a GREY HERON that flew over, the second were 13 FIELDFARE that did likewise just moments later.

On the lakes the first CANADA GEESE to turn up on a full patch walk since the 11th November were found, 8 of them were on the small lake. I then had some excitement, as I scanned the ornamental lake for the KINGFISHER I had heard, a female TEAL (69) was seen, it did a circuit of the lake before flying off Westwards, an excellent species to grace the months patch list and the one that makes it a record breaking November  :-)

I located LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER and BULLFINCH in the Scrubby Woods, but no Nuthatch were found. JAY, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, and GREEN WOODPECKER called from within the Wet Woods.

The Ashes Lane Field had an increase in MEADOW PIPITS, with 15 being seen, and the Greenhouse Grounds had the KESTREL pair hunting around them. A short skywatch in some very pleasant sunshine was at first not very productive, with just a few HERRING GULLS, BLACK HEADED GULLS, a YELLOWHAMMER and the local WOODPIGEONS and Corvids the only species seen, but I was very pleased to hear, then see, my first LAPWING (70) of the month fly over, another addition to the already record breaking month! 70 species for November is exceptional for here and there is still another patch visit to come!

I even took a few photo's today, just garden visitors  :-)

Great Spotted Woodpecker

GREENFINCH. Not had one of these on a full patch walk since November the 4th.


Friday 28 November 2014

Another grey and overcast morning, but at least it was dry and reasonably warm, with very little in the way of wind.

I undertook a four hour full patch walk, tallying up 43 species, which is just about what I would expect for a November day, unfortunately there were no new additions to the months list, just one more would make this November the most successful yet  :-)

Among the most noteworthy birds seen today were the 3 raptor species of SPARROWHAWK, BUZZARD and the KESTREL pair, all of which were seen around the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley, also the GREY WAGTAIL and 2 YELLOWHAMMERS at the Greenhouse Grounds were good birds to find for the day list.

A minimum of 12 MEADOW PIPITS were at the Ashes Lane Fields, a good number for November, the Pub Field had just a single MISTLETHRUSH on it.

All the resident woodland species were found today, the best of those being TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, JAY, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, BULLFINCH and SONGTHRUSH, it was nice to find a party of at least 8 REDWING feeding on the wooded bank of the main lake, but nothing was visiting the water today, just the resident MUTE SWANS, MALLARDS, MOORHENS and semi resident COOT pair  :-)

The weather promises to be brighter tomorrow, so another full patch walk beckons, hopefully i'll find that one new species for the month to make it a record November, surely a Mandarin Duck will turn up at the lakes!

My friendly Garden ROBIN

Thursday 27 November 2014

Early rain meant I didn't get out on my patch until gone 08:00hrs and I was off to the reserve at Bough Beech Reservoir at 10:00hrs, so only a short patch visit was made today.

I headed for the lakes, via the Ashes Lane Field, where 4 MEADOW PIPITS flew up from the grass and a KESTREL was seen perched in one of the boundary trees. Their were no surprises on the lakes when I arrived, just the MUTE SWAN family, COOT pair, 4 MALLARDS and 6 MOORHENS, plus the KINGFISHER was seen again.

I walked the Scrubby Woods in the hope of finding a Woodcock for the months list, but was disappointed in that respect, but a party of LONG TAILED TITS were watched as they moved through the dripping wet trees, with them were some of the usual followers of BLUE and GREAT TITS, plus a TREECREEPER, a COAL TIT and a GOLDCREST, just 2 BULLFINCHES were seen feeding on the old Blackberries.

Heading back home I saw a SPARROWHAWK up hunting.

Later in the morning a visit to the reservoir at Bough Beech was very enjoyable, the water was teeming with wildfowl, there were MALLARDS, MOORHENS, COOTS, TUFTED DUCK, SHOVELERS, WIGEON, POCHARD and over 100 TEAL, plus GADWALL, MANDARIN, LITTLE GREBE, GREAT CRESTED GREBE, and 3 male GOOSANDER. LITTLE EGRET and GREAT WHITE EGRET were also seen, as well as probably 2 KINGFISHERS and a SNIPE. Around 50 LAPWING moved nervously around the reservoir edge, where over 100 GREYLAG GEESE, a few CORMORANT and half a dozen GREY HERON were also found, a BUZZARD flew in and alighted at the top of a tree, which scattered virtually ever bird from the small lake. A good winter days birding  :-)

The light was poor and the subjects distant, but I did take a couple of photo's..................

Common Snipe

Great White Egret

Wednesday 26 November 2014

This morning, low cloud and drizzle made for a very murky, dull and damp patch visit, as the day went on conditions deteriorated further, with visibility down to 100 meters.

My early morning visit to the lakes was at least rewarded with the sighting of 4 GOOSANDER on the main lake, 2 males and 2 females, also there was a CORMORANT with them.

The adjacent Scrubby Woods had water cascading of the trees, making for a very unpleasant walk through it, very little was noted, a few GOLDCRESTS and BULLFINCHES, a TREECREEPER and a COAL TIT were the best of it.

I was pretty dire out on the farmland, the 250-300 STARLINGS and 60-70 ROOKS were out on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley and 8 BLACK HEADED GULLS were on one of the paddocks. Not a single flyover was recorded today, not surprisingly though, as the mist and drizzle made for very limited visibility.............. where's the winter weather this year ?

Tuesday 25 November 2014

This morning was overcast but mild, with very little wind, which is always a bonus :-)  I spent 3 hours out from 07:15hrs, visiting the lakes and Scrubby Woods mostly, with just a brief look around the farmland areas.

Only the regular crew of MUTE SWAN, COOT, MALLARD and MOORHEN were on the lakes, but the KINGFISHER was seen well more than once, it came within feet of me at one stage, alighting on a perch for all of 2 seconds before realising I was there and darting off again  :-)

It was good to see a party of 6 BULLFINCH in the Scrubby Woods, where COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, BLUE and GREAT TIT were all seen feeding together in a loose flock, below them on the woodland floor, at least 5 REDWING flew up.

Another SNIPE was seen this morning, it flew up from the Ashes Lane Field, always a good species to see here. Over at Migrant Alley a dozen BLACK HEADED GULLS were on one of the paddocks, while the sheep pasture had at least 250 STARLINGS feeding on it, along with 64 ROOKS.

The hedgerow that borders the sheep pasture and Greenhouse Grounds had 5 YELLOWHAMMERS feeding alongside it, fewer than the dozen seen last week, but still represents a good total for this species on the much impoverished farmland here. Just the male KESTREL was observed hunting around the Greenhouse Grounds today, the only raptor seen on my visit.

Later this afternoon, after another check of the lakes, where nothing had turned up, I did some garden bird watching where I recorded 21 species at my feeders and in the garden generally, such delights as Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, WREN, and SONGTHRUSH joined the regulars, even though the SPARROWHAWK made a few failed hunting attempts. The most numerous species were the GOLDFINCHES (peak of 22 counted) and BLUE TIT ( peak of 18), it was nice to see 4 HOUSE SPARROWS visit briefly too   :-)

Very frustrating to have all that birding activity just meters away, but no light to photograph them by!!

Monday 24 November 2014

After barely getting out at all yesterday, due to the rain, today was a much better day, with some sunshine, little wind and a slight frost.

I was able to spend just over four hours out, completing a full patch walk during which I found 46 species, which is good going for a November visit.

As I was taking the above images, small parties of both REDWING and FIELDFARE were heard, then seen flying over, a YELLOWHAMMER that also flew over was an early riser. 

The Small Holding, Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods had a reasonable amount of bird activity within them, nothing exceptional, but all the regulars and not so regulars turned out, with GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, CHAFFINCH, GOLDFINCH, BULLFINCH, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, STOCK DOVE, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, MISTLETHRUSH, and JAY all being seen.

The lakes were very quiet again, just the MUTE SWAN family, COOT pair, 4 MALLARDS and 6 MOORHEN were on the water.

I made my way across the Ashes lane Fields, where a SKYLARK was heard flying over and 4 MEADOW PITS got up from the grassland. Nothing at all was on the Pub Field, which has been seeded with yet more ''improved'' grassland, however I did see a pair of CORMORANTS fly over.

A circuit of Migrant Alley was made, where a few BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULLS sat out on one of the paddocks, around 75 STARLINGS were on the sheep pasture along with 30-40 ROOKS. I finished up at the Greenhouse Grounds, adding PHEASANT to my day list, as well as PIED WAGTAIL, COLLARED DOVE and HOUSE SPARROW. A short skywatch for raptors from my seat at Migrant Alley proved fortuitous, as I not only saw the KESTREL pair and the female SPARROWHAWK, but I also watched a SNIPE flyover, a real scarce species for my patch, best of all though I got good views of a PEREGRINE (68) as it sped over towards the Lakes, a new species for the month, that takes the November list to 68, which is the joint best tally for the 13 years  :-)  All the extra hours I'm putting in now seems to be paying off !

Whilst at the Greenhouse Grounds I saw a Red Admiral Butterfly, which was in pretty good conditon for November, I took a few snaps of it with my 400mm lens, not the best for macro shots!

 Red Admiral

Sunday 23 November 2014

An early attempt at a patch walk was soon aborted this morning as persistent rain came in, which hung around all day, making for a very dark and dismal day  :-(

The only birds of note seen on my 20 minute visit were the KESTREL pair that sat up on the Greenhouse rooves.

A large female SPARROWHAWK visited my garden late in the morning, taking a COLLARED DOVE, which it plucked and ate in situ, a gruesome thing to witness, as the Dove took an age to die whilst be eaten!

Looks like the rain will clear through during the night and some sunshine is forecast for tomorrow, hopefully i'll get out for a full patch walk and find something new for the months list  :-)

Nothing left in the blog photo folder now, so its a case of digging deep into my archives for a relevant image.


Saturday 22 November 2014

Although the morning started dry, rain soon moved in, making for a dismally dark, depressing day. Very little was found in the poor conditions, with most of the activity being over at the Scrubby Woods, where GOLDCRESTS continue to be around in good numbers, also a couple of COAL TITS and a NUTHATCH were seen within a flock of LONG TAILED TITS. A SONGTHRUSH gave a bit of song, an early bit of practice for the coming spring  :-)

I only spent a short time around the Fields and Greenhouse Grounds, as the rain had turned heavier, unsurprisingly I didn't find that Lapwing for the months list, just flyovers from singles of YELLOWHAMMER, SKYLARK and MEADOW PIPIT were of any note, plus a flock of 40+ GOLDFINCHES and 8 CHAFFINCHES that had gathered on the gravel track of the Greenhouse Grounds, no doubt collecting grit.

.................just these images left to brighten the blog, taken in last weeks sunnier moments, things are looking bleaker now!



Friday 21 November 2014

This morning the sky was a uniformly dull grey and with a bit more of a breeze than on recent visits it felt a bit chilly.

I'm still hoping to add just one more new species to the months list, but it is a stiff challenge, especially as the weather is not really very wintery, limiting any chance of a flyover rarity, but I am still hopeful of finding a Mandarin Duck on the lakes, or a Lapwing flying over.

It was this that enthused me to get out this morning, but as my walk progressed I slowly came to realise that I wasn't going to get that new species today. I found some bits and pieces of interest though, FIELDFARES continue to fly through, with flocks of 13, 10 and 150, also three more REDPOLLS flew over. GOLDCRESTS were the most audible birds this morning, the Scrubby Woods and lake edges were full of both the calls and song from them, at least a dozen birds were present. A flock of 8 LONG TAILED TITS almost matched the noise of the Goldcrests, a couple of COAL TITS, a NUTHATCH and a BULLFINCH pair were loosely associating with the Long Tailed Tits, but there was no Treecreeper today.

A CORMORANT circled over the lakes, but flew off when it saw me, just the KINGFISHER was of any note on the water today.

I watched a COMMON BUZZARD move from fence post to fence post at the Ashes Lane Fields, where just 2 MEADOW PIPITS were seen.

The KESTREL pair were hunting around the Greenhouse Grounds disturbing the GOLDFINCH flock, with which I also found the lone LINNET again.

Not much to report for the morning then, but tomorrow may be totally different and I might just get that flyover Lapwing or Mandarin duck I need to equal the record November species tally  ;-)

Ive still got a few garden bird images left to brighten the posts, but they are running out fast now, here's a series of the  BLUE TIT feeding on a sunflower seed  :-)

Thursday 20 November 2014

Feeling much better this morning, after my cold, I set off out for a full patch walk. The weather was overcast, mild, dry and windless, with just the odd bit of watery sunshine appearing.

Needing just one more new species for the month to equal the November record, I was keeping a sharp eye out today, but despite finding a pretty good day total of 46 species, I didn't add anything new for the month. I saw some evidence of winters approach, with more FIELDFARE seen today than so far this Autumn, with flocks of 4, 7, 33 and 48 all flying NE, but just one REDWING was seen, that was in a willow tree along Ashes Lane. Two LESSER REDPOLL flocks were seen, one of 14 flew over the Scrubby Woods, while another of 8 flew over the Greenhouse Grounds, later in the afternoon I had 2 drop in to my garden and use the feeders, the 25th garden species this month.

Raptors were well represented today, with a COMMON BUZZARD feeding in a newly seeded field off High House Lane, plus a SPARROWHAWK hunting over Migrant Alley and both of the KESTREL pair were hunting over the Ashes Lane Fields.

Two YELLOWHAMMERS were in the boundary hedgerow of the Greenhouse Grounds, where 15 LONG TAILED TITS were also seen, three MEADOW PIPITS and a SKYLARK were on the Ashes Lane Fields. The Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods provided STOCK DOVE, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, NUTHATCH, another 8 Long Tailed Tits, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, JAY, and the lakes had the usual today, that being MUTE SWAN, MALLARD, COOT and MOORHEN, plus the KINGFISHER was heard again, a GREY WAGTAIL that was feeding around the nearby outbuildings was a nice bonus bird.

A LITTLE OWL that was seen at the Small Holding was the only other species of any note this morning, not a bad visit all in all  :-)

This afternoon the sun shone for a while, allowing some garden bird photography........

Coal Tit



Wednesday 19 November 2014

Still feeling rough, under the influence of my cold virus, I treated myself to a lie in, then a proper breakfast this morning. By 09:00hrs I had ventured out for a short patch visit, only going as far as the lakes by way of the Ashes lane Field.

Looking back across the Ashes Lane Fields, as you can see. it was dull and murky, typical for November

Crossing the above fields, I saw a SPARROWHAWK fly low over, chased by a pair of CARRION CROWS, also  a couple of MEADOW PIPITS flew up, and at least 3 SKYLARKS were heard going over.

The ornamental lake.

Reaching the lakes I was ever hopeful that a visiting duck species would be present, but apart from the MUTE SWAN family, COOT pair, the usual half dozen MALLARD, plus a dozen MOORHEN, all on the ornamental lake, I was to be disappointed, however seeing the KINGFISHER fly across the water was a bonus.

On the main lake only another Mallard was present, but then, a splash was heard, I looked at the resultant ripple of water and saw a fantastic female GOOSANDER (67) very nice of it to drop in and make my day! Goosanders can be expected on the lakes almost every year, but they are more likely at the end of winter than the beginning, this is the 7th year running they have been sighted before the end of the year, giving an average arrival date of December 8th.

 My view of the female Goosander ! I didn't feel like lugging the big lens around this morning, the photo's today were taken with my 100mm macro lens!

Whilst watching the Goosander fish, then preen for some 20 minutes, I noted a few birds around me, a LONG TAILED TIT flock moved briskly through, with it were TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT and the usual BLUE and GREAT TITS. GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were seen, pus BULLFINCHES were heard. I soon began to feel the damp cold getting to me ( although it wasn't really cold) and headed off home for tea and toast. Short as the visit was, it was good to see the Goosander, which moves the November species list up to 67, the second best November tally so far, and there's still 11 more days to go to try and equal the record tally, just got to get rid of this cold virus  :-(

Two SONGTHRUSHES visited my garden this afternoon, a very scarce bird for my little wildlife refuge, it's the 24th species to visit this month  :-)

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Ive been hit by one of those dreaded cold viruses! Not man flu yet, but I didn't feel well enough to make much of a patch visit today  :-(

I was tempted out by some sunshine around 11:30hrs and thinking some fresh air would do me good, I walked over to the Greenhouse Grounds, where I spent an hour mostly sneezing! I didn't see much at that time of day of course, just the male KESTREL, a flock of GOLDFINCHES, a couple of MEADOW PIPITS and the regular common stuff like WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, PIED WAGTAIL, BLACKBIRD, BLUE and GREAT TITS, the latter giving some spring calls! The only noteworthy flyover was a GREY HERON.

In the sunshine it felt warm, and I was not really surprised to see both a RED ADMIRAL butterfly and a pair of COMMON DARTER Dragonflies in tandem  :-)

Hopefully I will feel ok tomorrow!

 Blue Tit


Monday 17 November 2014

Just a short 90 minute patch visit was possible this morning, where in mostly cloudy conditions I didn't add any more new species to the months list, any more will be hard won now I think!

The only visitor on the lakes was a lone CORMORANT, it joined the now established COOT pair, the MUTE SWAN family, 6 MALLARDS and 8 MOORHENS. The adjacent Scrubby Woods had a flock of around a dozen LONG TAILED TITS present, with these were the usual followers of BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER and GOLDREST, there has been no sign of the Marsh Tit that was here last Thursday though.

A COMMON BUZZARD was seen flying from the Ashes Lane Fields to the Pub Field, the KESTREL pair were also hunting around the Ashes Lane Fields where there was just one MEADOW PIPIT noted today.

The Greenhouse Grounds had plenty of WRENS, DUNNOCKS, ROBINS, BLACKBIRDS and a couple of PIED WAGTAILS, also the LINNET, seen yesterday, was present again, feeding with the flock of around 30 GOLDFINCHES. The boundary hedgerow had two FIELDFARE and a single REDWING feeding on the haws, but the find of the day was a party of YELLOWHAMMERS, 11 birds in all, the most seen here for many years now, a fantastic sight with all their yellow and chestnut plumage brightening the dull conditions  :-)

The STARLING flock on the sheep pasture had increased to around 300 birds, but nothing else of note was out there today.


Sunday 16 November 2014

A TAWNY OWL (64) joined the months list when one was heard ''kewicking'' at 04:15 this morning, waking me from my slumber,  I went to the back bedroom window and had a listen, finding at least 2 more hooting over towards the Wet Woods / Lake area.

Three hours later I was out on my patch, conditions were typical for a November day, being dull, cool, misty and damp, despite this, I decided on a full patch walk, which provided a miserly tally of just 38 species.

Regular species that were not seen today, like Greenfinch, MistleThrush, Fieldfare, Redwing, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Pheasant, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, or any kind of Goose, were made up for, by sightings of some not so regular species, including YELLOWHAMMER, KINGFISHER and GREY WAGTAIL, plus two species that have yet to be seen this month, LINNET (65) which was feeding at the Greenhouse Grounds with a flock of 30-40 GOLDFINCH, (I thought i'd seen the last of this species until next spring) and RING NECKED PARAKEET (66) of which an incredible (for here) 22 flew over Migrant Alley, what a brilliant sight, the contact calls they were making were quite alien sounding.

A TREECREEPER was an unusual find in the boundary hedgerow of the Greenhouse Grounds, where a party of 13 LONG TAILED TITS breezed along its short length. Other birds seen around the Greenhouse Grounds included a lone MEADOW PIPIT, a pair of GOLDCRESTS, a few PIED WAGTAILS, a couple of SONGTHRUSHES, and a t least 9 DUNNOCKS.

There was not too much going on at the lakes, just the COOT pair, and the already mentioned kingfisher were of note. The Scrubby Woods and Wet Woods were dismal places to be in this morning, dark and damp, with water dripping of the half canopied trees, so it was not surprising that I only heard a few ''ticking'' ROBINS, the soft melancholic calls of a BULLFINCH, a squawk of a JAY and calls from both GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS.

A BUZZARD was feeding in the large field just off Ashes Lane, the only raptor seen today.

Despite the lack of species and dismally dull weather today, it was quite an enjoyable visit, the three new species that have been added to the November list bring the months species tally up to 66, which puts it in 2nd place out of the 13 years, it is the same tally as recorded in the whole of November 2011, and just 2 species behind the record November tally of 68, set in 2010.

Still a few images taken from my garden last week to brighten the post!

Saturday 15 November 2014

After missing a patch visit yesterday morning, due to the persistent heavy rain, this morning very nearly went the same way, but fortunately their were some breaks in the downpours this morning, although it was extremely dull and misty throughout my visit.

An early walk over to the lakes, in pouring rain, didn't provide much of interest as I passed through the Small Holding and Wet Woods, the lakes themselves had the COOT pair and the KINGFISHER present, as well as a pair of CORMORANTS, but not a hoped for Duck species. The Adjacent Scrubby Woods was very quiet, just 2 male BULLFINCH, a pair of COAL TIT and up to 6 GOLDCRESTS were the best of it.

The rain had ceased for a while as I headed for Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds via the Ashes Lane Fields, where 4 MEADOW PIPITS flew up, then a BUZZARD flew low over, alighting in the middle section of an Oak tree which was already occupied by the female KESTREL in the upper branches, she called out in disgust, before flying off into a nearby Sycamore.

Arriving at the Greenhouse Grounds, I walked the hedgerow that forms the boundary with the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, here I saw a few CHAFFINCHES, DUNNOCKS, BLACKBIRDS, SONGTHRUSHES, a single FIELDFARE as well as a couple of YELLOWHAMMER and better still, my first REED BUNTINGS (63) of the month. Its been a decent year for Reed Buntings on my patch, although they remain scarce and never turn up in more than one's and two's, this is the sixth month this year that I have have recorded them, two to three would be more usual. A rain shortened sky watch from my seat was good for HERRING GULLS, BLACK HEADED GULLS, a couple of SKYLARKS, four REDWING and a group of three MISTLETHRUSHES.

Another camera-less outing today, but I still have a few garden bird pics to show that I took last week, here's a GREAT TIT  :-)

Thursday 13 November 2014

A cool and cloudy morning, with a strengthening SW wind didn't inspire me to get out today, but hey, if you dont get out you dont find the unexpected!

I spent most of the visit over at the Wet Woods, Scrubby Woods and Lake area, on the way, as I walked across the Ashes Lane Field, 3 MEADOW PIPITS were seen and 3 CORMORANTS flew over.

After quickly establishing there wasn't anything majorly exciting on the lakes, except maybe the KINGFISHER and COOT pair, I gave the bankside vegetation and Scrubby Woods a good looking through, finding all the sometimes hard to see woodland species, like LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH and JAY, as well as at least a dozen GOLDCRESTS and 8 BULLFINCHES, four of which ( 3 males and a female) were feeding in a Hawthorne bush. There is nothing quite like the sight of a gathering of rosy breasted Bullfinches feeding in a Hawthorn with the rain drops glistening off the bare branches early in the morning, except maybe if the branches were frosted  ;-)

I also saw a couple of MISTLETHRUSHES, only the second record this month, two FIELDFARES flew over, they have been scarce here this month too, however, the sighting for the morning was that of my first MARSH TIT (109, 62) since March last year. Single Marsh Tits have wintered on my patch over the last few years, but I thought I'd lost them, as normally if one turns up it is here by Sept - Oct. A very pleasing addition to my year list though, this species brings up the 2014 patch list to 109, which was my target for the year, 109 being the average yearly tally for the previous five years.

I spent a short while at the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley, where the best bits were a sighting of the KESTREL pair, a SPARROWHAWK, over 200 STARLINGS out on the sheep pasture, and 84 BLACK HEADED GULLS on one of the paddocks. Flyovers from LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and YELLOWHAMMER were also noteworthy.

This afternoon, before the rain came, I watched the garden feeders for a while, ever hopeful of my first Brambling of the year turning up, but it wasn't to be, I did have a Goldcrest turn up though, they are everywhere at the moment! There were plenty of GOLDFINCH feeding too, a couple fed on the Teasels I planted, sitting up nicely on the heads for a photo opportunity, I did get a few shots, but it was far too gloomy for any decent's the results though  :-)