Friday 30 September 2016

After some initial cloud, the morning became sunny and warm, with a brisk westerly breeze.

I headed for the lakes first thing this morning, rather than the farmland parts of my patch, hoping for a visiting duck species other than MALLARD, but alas just those were present, as is the case 99% of the time!

Walking back across the Ashes Lane Fields I noted at least 150 HOUSE MARTINS, along with a few SWALLOWS buzzing around the sheep pasture, as I watched them all, a couple of YELLOW WAGTAILS flew through, while in the distance 2 SPARROWHAWKS circled menacingly.

Over at the Greenhouse Grounds a CHIFFCHAFF was singing, but more pleasingly, I also saw my first YELLOWHAMMER (70) of the month (and the last!) alight on a battered hedgerow. The male KESTREL was on one of the Greenhouses, plus a few PIED WAGTAILS were present.

A short sky watch over Migrant Alley was good for more Swallows and House Martins, as well as a passage of MEADOW PIPITS, plus, as is usual on a sunny morning, BUZZARDS were watched soaring over the area.

The final tally of species recorded for the month was 70, which puts it in 9th place of the 15 Septembers recorded so far, a bit disappointing, as the mean average number of species for the last five Septembers is 74, with the record September tally at 78.

SONGTHRUSH at the Greenhouse Grounds

CARRION CROW on the fence line at Migrant Alley

Butterflies seen today included Comma, Small white, Red Admiral and Painted Lady

The only Odonata species seen were a few worn Common Darters.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Only a short patch visit was made today, in blustery, cool conditions, with occasional spots of rain.

Two YELLOW WAGTAILS flew from the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley and a CHIFFCHAFF sang from the Greenhouse Copse, the only other Summer species recorded were the SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS, which once again passed through in their hundreds.

A BUZZARD called from the Wet Woods, but there was no sign of the Kestrels today.

Not the weather for photography today, so here's the rest of the Dragonfly images I took yesterday.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

It was warm and sunny this morning, with a moderate westerly breeze blowing.

After yesterdays full patch walk, which yielded a total of 43 species, most of those being the regular breeding birds, apart from the GREY WAGTAIL found at the Greenhouse grounds, today I set off in the sunshine to walk the fields and check out the greenhouse Grounds.

Once again it was a case of recording the regular species, the only passage birds were the MEADOW PIPITS, as well as the SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS that flew over in every few minutes in large mixed groups. Once again the GREY WAGTAIL was at the Greenhouse grounds.

SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were the first raptors seen up hunting, but by mid morning the sky was full of BUZZARDS, I counted 7 together, but the other birds seen in singles, two's and three's could have been the same birds or different ones passing through.!

By late morning it was hot enough for Dragons and Butterflies to be on the wing, I recorded Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Comma and Painted Lady Butterflies, but only Common Darter and Migrant Hawker Dragonflies, the latter were found in a mating wheel, which allowed me to fill my boots with images. I'll post a few today and save a few for later posts  :-)

I was initially watching this male

Then a female flew into the males territory, the male soon found here and grabbed here in mid air, before settling in the brambles.

I thought i'd missed my chance when they flew off, but they alighted again just a few meters away, in a better place for photo's too  :-)

I was able to get withing 30cm of them, getting some good close ups of the male and female as they mated. I like the way the male has hold of her head with his claspers, I thought the males clasped the females around the neck, I was wrong!

Nice close up of the joined abdomens  :-)

Monday 26 September 2016

It was mostly cloudy this morning, with a light shower passing through just before midday.

A walk around the farmland areas of my patch proved a very average affair, with little to see. The KESTREL pair were hunting around the Ashes Lane Field, where a lone LINNET was also seen. SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS continue to pass through, but in much smaller numbers now.......soon they will be gone for the year.

A BUZZARD flew low over Migrant Alley, where a flock of 40-50 STARLINGS had gathered, there was a GREY WAGTAIL again at the Greenhouse Grounds. The odd CHIFFCHAFF is still to be seen.


Sunday 25 September 2016

Morning cloud dispersed by midday, leaving a sunny, but blustery afternoon.

I carried out a full patch walk today, finding an ok tally of 43 bird species, most of those were woodland birds, the farmland areas here hold little bird diversity now the hedges have been shattered by machinery, removing all the food and shelter in the process.

The Scrubby Woods provided most species, with GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, BULLFINCH, CHAFFINCH, CHIFFCHAFF, STOCK DOVE, JAY, GREEN WOODPECKER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, SONGTHRUSH and MISTLETHRUSH being the most noteworthy, what a difference a bit of sympathetic woodland management makes!

KINGFISHER and GREY HERON were visiting the lakes, otherwise it was just the usual MALLARD and MOORHEN on them.

The Greenhouse grounds came up with a couple of nice species, a GREY WAGTAIL that was feeding around the water intake area, plus a REED BUNTING (69), the first on patch since April and just the second record this year!

SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN made up the Summer species seen today, while KESTREL and BUZZARD were the only raptors that showed up for todays count. 

Saturday 24 September 2016

A mostly sunny morning, but with a moderate Southerly wind.

Just a short 90 minute patch visit was possible this morning, where the most noteworthy bird action was the near continuous passage of HOUSE MARTINS and SWALLOWS heading south over the area. The only other Summer species recorded was a couple of CHIFFCHAFFS at the Greenhouse Grounds, where the female KESTREL was also perched up.

A few MEADOW PIPITS, PIED WAGTAILS, LINNETS, GREENFINCHES and GOLDFINCHES were also seen, plus 3 BUZZARDS were watched as they soared over Migrant Alley.

Friday 23 September 2016

Blue skies and warm sunshine were had for todays patch visit, very pleasant indeed!

The birding didn't quite match up to the weather today though, there wasn't much to get excited about, although watching a HOBBY chase the passage SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS over Migrant Alley was  good entertainment. The KESTREL was back after a day off patch, and a SPARROWHAWK was also in the area, BUZZARDS made it a four raptor species day, with at least ten in the area!

CHIFFCHAFF was the only other Summer species recorded today, but the Autumn MEADOW PIPITS have continued to pass through, stopping of briefly at Migrant Alley and the Ashes Lane Fields to feed on the sheep pasture there.

In the good light I managed a couple of photo's............



Thursday 22 September 2016

A mostly cloudy morning, but pleasant in light winds.

The 8th full patch walk of the month was undertaken this morning, during which a less than average tally of 42 bird species were found. Most of the Summer species have now departed, with just 2 BLACKCAPS, half a dozen CHIFFCHAFFS, a dozen SWALLOWS and 8 fly-over HOUSE MARTINS representing those.

Fewer MEADOW PIPITS were seen on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, just 4 in all, but there was an apparent increase in both BLACKBIRD and SONGTHRUSH, most of these seen around the Greenhouse copse and Greenhouse Grounds.

COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, STOCK DOVE, JAY, MISTLETHRUSH, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS were the best of what was found in the Wet Woods, Scrubby Woods and Small Holding area, while the lakes had 3 MANDARIN DUCKS of note.

Only BUZZARD and SPARROWHAWK turned out for the raptors, no Kestrel seen, for the first time in months!

I failed dismally with the camera today, mostly due to the poor light.......well, thats my excuse!

Wednesday 21 September 2016

After days of frustration, my computer is up and running again!

The last few days have been hit and miss with respect to getting out birding, but I have a few bits and pieces to report, not least the first MISTLETHRUSH (68) since July, which was seen on the full patch walk I undertook yesterday, during that walk I recoded 48 species, which included a KINGFISHER on the main lake, a BLACKCAP at the Greenhouse Grounds, the only one seen, plus 2 GREY WAGTAILS that flew over Migrant Alley.

On the 19th I found a WHINCHAT at Migrant Alley, where 4 YELLOW WAGTAILS flew over. The LITTLE OWLS have been calling from the Small Holding area during the late afternoon, plus last night a TAWNY OWL was heard hooting from the front of my house around 21:00hrs.

The three local raptor species of BUZZARD, KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK have all been seen daily over the past three days, a HOBBY joined them on the 17th.

Hopefully more regular posts can now follow!

A few images were taken during the last week....................

This Sprawk has been terrorising the garden feeders, it took three finches in one day!

Migrant Hawker Dragonflies are frequenting the Greenhouse Grounds

They are benefiting from the early Autumn warmth

Not my best effort of a Small Copper Butterfly, but this is just my fourth record of one this year!

Sunday 18 September 2016

Unfortunately, my computer has died on me! So i'll have to suspend the blog until at least Wednesday 21st September, when my IT guy is hopefully going to sort things out.

Using my wifes computer at the moment, which is not ideal, as you can imagine!

Yesterday a SNIPE flew over, which was the highlight of the visit, today I had a YELLOW WAGTAIL and a HOBBY over Migrant Alley, plus around 20 MEADOW PIPITS at the Ashes Lane Fields, a nice mix of Autumn/Winter species  :-)

Thursday 15 September 2016

Another hot and humid day, with just a light NE breeze.

I spent three hours around the fields of Migrant Alley this morning, as well as searching the Greenhouse copse and what remains of the habitat at the Greenhouse Grounds.

It was tee shirt weather even at 07:00hrs, very pleasant for September! At the Greenhouse Grounds there were around 15 GOLDFINCHES feeding on the thistles, plus a few PIED WAGTAILS leaving their roost, a GREEN WOODPECKER flew from a bare patch of ground and the male KESTREL looked on from its greenhouse perch.

MEADOW PIPITS were ''seep seeping'' from the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, plus a WHINCHAT was seen on one of the fence lines. The sound of YELLOW WAGTAILS was heard every few minutes, hard to see them though up in the blue sky, a GREY WAGTAIL was seen as it flew low over though, making all three Wagtail species for the session.

BUZZARDS were again seen on every horizon, a local SPARROWHAWK made up the trio of raptor species for the visit as it sped through over the greenhouse Copse, where around 4 CHIFFCHAFF were busy feeding.

A few skeins of CANADA and GREYLAG GEESE flew over and small numbers of HOUSE MARTINS and SWALLOWS were seen up in the blue. Nothing to add to the months list though, where are those Mistlethrushes?

Canada Goose

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Today was hot and humid, and apart from a brief spell of cloud that drifted over from the south around midday, the sky remained clear and blue.

Much of todays visit was spent watching the sky at Migrant Alley, it was far too warm to be marching around the fields, besides, the hedge destroyers were out, so nothing would be gained from walking the field margins.

A WHINCHAT flew low across the paddocks at Migrant Alley early in my visit, it didn't hang about to feed though. A few MEADOW PIPITS came and went, as did at least three separate YELLOW WAGTAILS, plus a few SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS fed over the sheep pasture. Three HOBBIES drifted over together, with another seen later in the morning. BUZZARDS were on every horizon, and a SPARROWHAWK was up hunting over the Wet Woods, one of the local KESTRELS made it a four raptor species day, when the female was seen sitting up on one of the Greenhouses. The Greenhouse Grounds and associated Copse had what is left of the Summer passerines that remain here, those being just 4 or 5 CHIFFCHAFF and a BLACKCAP.

Monday 12 September 2016

This morning was largely sunny, with scattered cloud and a light Southerly breeze.

During my five hour full patch walk today, I counted 44 species, that's ten less than the full patch walk of five days ago!

Nothing was found to add to the months list and only YELLOW WAGTAIL and MEADOW PIPIT showed up for the passage birds today, both at Migrant Alley. Pheasant, Whitethroat, Long Tailed Tit and Mistlethrush were the only omissions for the local regularly seen species species, while SWALLOW, HOUSE MARTIN, CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP and LESSER WHITETHROAT were the Summer species recorded today, the latter being the same bird as seen yesterday in the same stretch of hedgerow along Ashes Lane.

A couple of BUZZARDS were up soaring over Migrant Alley, a couple of KESTRELS were at the Greenhouse Grounds and a SPARROWHAWK hunted along the edge of the Wet Woods. A MANDARIN DUCK was on the main lake again, with just a MALLARD and 3 MOORHENS.

Not getting much luck photographically at the moment, in desperation I took this distant shot of a couple of young GREEN WOODPECKERS on the fence posts at the drainage ditch that runs through the Ashes Lane Fields, enjoy it fellas, the cover is unlikely to last much longer  :-(

Sunday 11 September 2016

In stark contrast to yesterday morning, this morning was bright, warm and sunny.

After not finding anything of note in yesterdays drizzle, apart from a pair of flyover CORMORANTS, todays visit was much more productive. A fantastic male REDSTART was found along the edge of the Greenhouse Copse that runs up against Migrant Alley, the sunny woodland strip also had 4 CHIFFCHAFFS present and a BUZZARD flew from the Copse itself.

Out on the paddocks of Migrant Alley there were two WHEATEARS feeding, while overhead the SWALLOWS were joined by a few HOUSE MARTINS, plus at least 2 HOBBIES were observed, one being chased by the local male KESTREL.

The Ashes Lane Fields had both COMMON and LESSER WHITETHROAT present along the drainage ditch there, this could be the last date for these Summer migrants, the median average last dates for the 15 years of recording being the 11th and 14th of September respectively.

A sky watch from my seat back over at Migrant Alley proved rewarding, when four MEADOW PIPITS (66) dropped in from the North, minutes later another six did likewise, their arrival this Autumn is 3 days later than the 15 year median date. A COMMON GULL (67) also flew over, a rare September sighting of this species.

Thursday 8 September 2016

Another mostly sunny morning, feeling warm in an increasing SW wind.

Once again I spent a good three hours walking the farmland habitat of my patch and once again I was rewarded by some passage migrant activity. Early in the visit, the September list was added to when a SNIPE (65) was initially heard and then watched as it flew over Migrant Alley, where a YELLOW WAGTAIL also flew over. On the paddocks there was a WHEATEAR, but it was the WHINCHATS that took the starring role, with no fewer than 4 feeding together!

2 BUZZARDS, a KESTREL and a HOBBY were all seen up hunting over the area, plus once again there were plenty of HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS about.

SWALLOW, HOUSE MARTIN, CHIFFCHAFF and WHITETHROAT made up the other Summer species, but their days on my patch are dwindling fast now as they stream out of the country.

This mornings Wheatear. It didn't allow very close approach, but it was much more approachable than the 4 Whinchats

There were good numbers of these Migrant Hawker dragonflies about, this one was captured with my 100-400mm lens, which made a pretty good job of it!

A few Common Darters were about too, i'd changed over to my 100mm macro lens by now.  :-)

Wednesday 7 September 2016

This morning was misty, grey and gloomy, but by 10:00hrs the gloom lifted and it became sunny and very warm.

In the gloom I set off out for a full patch walk,  during which, a very good tally of 54 species was recorded, 5 of those new being to the months list, which at 64 is already just 2 behind the August tally, showing what a poor month that was.

A KINGFISHER (60) at the main lake was the first species added to the September list, but more pleasing was finding a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (61) around the outbuildings between the lakes and the Scrubby Woods, just my second record for the year of this once regular Pittswood breeding species. As I watched the Spotted Flycatcher, more good fortune arrived in the form of a GREY WAGTAIL (62) the first here since July.

Most of what was expected turned out in the Scrubby Woods and Wet Woods, the best being the likes of COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, JAY, STOCK DOVE, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF. The lakes were very quiet as usual, but there was a GREY HERON present of note today.

Crossing the Ashes Lane Fields I was pleased to find a WHINCHAT sitting on the fence line along the drainage ditch, then at Migrant Alley I found another one, along with  a WHEATEAR, plus a flyover YELLOW WAGTAIL. Later, this afternoon I found there were 2 Whinchats and 3 Wheatears at Migrant Alley!

Looking through the Greenhouse Grounds, I finally found a SONGTHRUSH (63) for the September list, as well as a single WHITETHROAT, after which, a 90 minute Sky watch produced the four Raptor species of KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK, HOBBY and BUZZARD, the latter of which I counted ten thermalling together, but there could well of been 12-15, as some left and some joined the gathering! A CORMORANT and the three regular Larid species of HERRING GULL, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL helped pad out the day list.The last species to be added to the September list was a real treat, with 6 LAPWING (64) flying low over, heading Southwards, gone are the days when they would stop off on the fields of Migrant Alley though.

Just a flyover ROOK was captured by my camera today, the ''chats'' were way too wary!


Tuesday 6 September 2016

Today was mostly cloudy, but it was extremely humid and warm.

Once again a few hours spent around Migrant Alley, the Ashes Lane Fields, Pub field and Greenhouse grounds was had this morning, where there were fewer passage birds about, the only ones being a flyover of 4 YELLOW WAGTAILS. A WHITETHROAT was in the Greenhouse Grounds, whilst the associated Greenhouse Copse had a mixed flock of birds, including LONG TAILED TIT, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, GOLDCREST and CHIFFCHAFF.

I added a couple of species to the September list, with flyovers from CORMORANT (57) and GREY HERON (58), plus BUZZARD, KESTREL and HOBBY were all seen up hunting.

An afternoon visit to the Greenhouse Grounds proved rewarding, with another flock of 8 flyover Yellow Wagtails, as well a LESSER WHITETHROAT (59) for the month, which gave almost continuous sub-song from the boundary hedgerow.

Nothing for the camera today though  :-(

Monday 5 September 2016

A heavy and wetting drizzle fell for most of this morning, when it felt warm and muggy in the light wind.

I added LITTLE OWL (55) to the August list when one was heard calling from the Small Holding last evening.

Three hours spent out in the wet this morning was rewarded handsomely, with the first SAND MARTIN (56) of the month being recorded when at least 4 were seen flying among the SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS that were feeding low among the sheep at Migrant Alley. A WHEATEAR and 2 WHINCHATS were also at Migrant Alley on one of the paddocks, the 6th day running that I have recorded Whinchat here ( I inexplicably didn't mention the one seen yesterday!) To top off the visit, a party of at least 7 YELLOW WAGTAILS dropped in, feeding on the sheep pasture for a brief while.

The only other Summer bird species seen were 2 WHITETHROATS that were at the Greenhouse Grounds, plus a few CHIFFCHAFFS. A SPARROWHAWK that flew over, was the only Raptor of the day, the same bird that visited my garden feeders later in the morning perhaps, it took a young GOLDFINCH as you can see in the images I took of it below.

Sprawk with lunch

A nice set of images, if just a little over-exposed, I didn't take into account the poor light - sloppy of me!

Sunday 4 September 2016

After an initial sunny start to the morning it soon clouded over, with spits of drizzle on an increasing SW wind.

I carried out a full patch walk this morning, when during the 5 hour visit I found a total of 44 bird species, not too bad in the cool, breezy conditions. The excitement for the morning was provided by the discovery of a superb male REDSTART (99,53), which was feeding from the hedge line that borders the Pub Field and the Ashes Lane Fields, just one more species needed now for the 100!

A LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL  (54) was added to the months list, I wonder if I will get 70+ species this September ? The last year that September failed to reach over 70 species was back in 2006.

BUZZARD and KESTREL were the only Raptors seen today, but not all of the regular breeding woodland species were found, once again Songthrush, which are concealing themselves excellently whilst they finish moulting, nor Mistlethrush were found this morning, Long Tailed Tit also evaded the days count.

Very few BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF and WHITETHROAT remain here now, they will soon be gone for this year. The only other species of any note were a passage of HOUSE MARTINS and the female MANDARIN DUCK on the main lake again.

WREN ( Taken yesterday)

Saturday 3 September 2016

There was a bright and sunny start to the morning, with a moderate SW wind, but cloud soon drifted in, bringing rain by late afternoon.

Another 3 hour walk around the Ashes Lane Fields, Pub Field, Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds was made this morning, but most of the Summer birds seemed to have moved out, with the exception of another WHINCHAT at Migrant Alley, which flew over to the Greenhouse Grounds, where it sat and gave me a few photo opportunities, it was just in range  ;-)

Just 1 CHIFFCHAFF, 2 HOUSE MARTINS and 40-50 SWALLOWS were the other the Summer species seen this morning.

Up to 100 CANADA GEESE flew over in small skeins, with a few GREYLAG GEESE among them. HERRING GULLS and BLACK HEADED GULLS flew over continuously, plus the three local Raptor species of BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were all up hunting.


Friday 2 September 2016

A mostly cloudy, but warm day. A strengthening SW wind brought light rain by 14:00hrs.

TAWNY OWL (49) was added to the September bird list when a pair were heard last night as I lay awake  :-)

I spent the early part of the morning walking Migrant Alley and searching the Greenhouse Grounds, the latter produced, of note, a couple of COMMON WHITETHROAT and a CHIFFCHAFF, plus the dwindling flock of mixed GOLDFINCH/GREENFINCH.

It was good to find another 2 WHINCHAT at Migrant Alley, no other passage birds were found today though, although a nice flock of LINNETS, some 24 strong were on one of the paddocks.

A 90 minute sky watch was made, which added three more species to the month list, those being CANADA GOOSE (50) GREYLAG GOOSE (51) and HOUSE MARTIN (52). Once again four Raptor species were seen up hunting - BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL and HOBBY.

The Whinchat wouldn't play ball when it came to photographing them, so it's back to the Wheatear I found yesterday for todays blog brighteners.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Hazy sunshine and light winds made for a very pleasant first day of Autumn.

As always on the first day of the new month, I undertook a full patch walk, during which, the five hour visit, plus a two hour afternoon visit produced a good tally of 48 bird species.

In the calm conditions it proved excellent for scanning the sky for Raptor species and a fantastic five species were recorded, those being KESTREL, BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK, HOBBY and PEREGRINE of which there were a pair up together, typical they should turn up as they were not on last months list!

Migrant Alley turned up a few migrant species, with a YELLOW WAGTAIL, a WHINCHAT and 3 WHEATEAR all present, good to have a few of the latter coming through in numbers at last.

All the local breeding woodland species turned out today, except Songthrush and Mistlethrush, the best of those being GOLDCREST, LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, JAY, STOCK DOVE, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and GREEN WOODPECKER, even the lakes chipped in, with a MANDARIN DUCK seen on the main lake.

I got a distant shot of the Mandarin Duck

BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, COMMON WHITETHROAT and SWALLOW made up the rest of the Summer birds seen today. Apart from the Raptor species, the only flyovers were from HERRING GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL, these drifted over from the south of my patch where there were at least 500 mixed Gulls that were flushed up, but not by the hoped for Osprey!

During the afternoon visit 2 SKYLARKS flew from the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley as I was photographing the Wheatears. I took plenty of images of them, here's a few, I'll put the rest up on tomorrows post  :-)