Wednesday 30 November 2016

Both yesterday morning and this morning were cold and frosty,  but with plenty of sunshine and light winds, it felt very pleasant out on my short patch visits.

Early visits to the Lakes and Scrubby Woods were made on both mornings, yesterdays highlight was finding a pair of TEAL (64) on the main lake, a new species for the months list. This morning however saw the lakes 90% frozen over, limiting what was seen to Mallards and Moorhens. The adjacent Scrubby Woods had the usual good variety of bird species present, which included among the more common species were; NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH, LONG TAILED TAILED, COAL TIT, GREEN WOODPECKER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and SISKIN.

A walk around the farmland parts of my patch didn't provide much of note on the ground, but a flyover LAPWING was nice and a SNIPE (65) that flew over Migrant Alley was another for the months list. The female KESTREL was hunting over the Ashes Lane Fields, where a BUZZARD was also seen flying low over. A GREY WAGTAIL was seen at the Greenhouse grounds.

So November ended with a couple of new species right at the death, taking the months bird tally to 65, which is just one short of the mean species total achieved for the previous five Novembers, and takes it to joint sixth place out of fifteen ( joint with 2013) in the rankings.


Monday 28 November 2016

There were blue skies and plenty of sunshine this morning, making it feel very pleasant in the light winds.

In the good conditions I carried out the tenth and last full patch walk of November, where I was fortunate enough to add, from the 43 species recorded, a new species for the months list, that being a LITTLE EGRET (63), when one flew over the Greenhouse Grounds. The November list is now equal that of November 2009 and at 63 it's the eighth highest from the fifteen Novembers recorded so far, however, it is still 3 below the mean average species total for the previous 5 Novembers.

A GREY WAGTAIL was feeding around the Greenhouse Grounds, where the KESTREL pair were also seen hunting. Singles of SKYLARK, SISKIN and MEADOW PIPIT, plus a few BLACK HEADED GULLS and HERRING GULLS were all noted as I walked a circuit of the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, but nothing of note was on the fields.

A BUZZARD flew low over the Ashes Lane Fields as I was en route to the Wet Woods, lakes and Scrubby Woods, where most of the regulars and semi regulars showed up, apart from Stock Dove, the best of those, as always, being GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, BULLFINCH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER and the CHIFFCHAFF that was once again seen along the banks of the main lake - nothing of note on any of the lakes, though a CORMORANT flew over and thought about visiting, but had a change of heart.

The Small Holding Area was good for a few more of the common regular species, as well as 6-8 FIELDFARE and 2 MISTLETHRUSHES.

Female Kestrel on a telephone pole along Ashes Lane 

One of the ''Common regular'' species  :-)

Saturday 26 November 2016

There was a moderate frost, with sunny skies for this mornings full patch walk, but cloud spilled over from 10:00hrs.

The pleasant patch visit produced 42 bird species, none new for the months list, but a few interesting birds were recorded. A CHIFFCHAFF was seen and heard calling around the main lake, also a GREY WAGTAIL was on the roof of one of the nearby out-buildings, nothing of note on the water though.


The Ashes lane Fields had only 4 MEADOW PIPITS of note.

The line of half a dozen Alder Trees at the Greenhouse Grounds had 4 SISKINS feeding in them, along with 5 GOLDFINCHES, the female KESTREL was on one of the greenhouses, plus a flyover REED BUNTING was a good patch record.

Other flyovers of note were; FIELDFARE, CORMORANT, SKYLARK, BUZZARD, HERRING GULL and a swirling mass of at least 120 BLACK HEADED GULLS that were over Migrant Alley.

Friday 25 November 2016

No patch visit was made today, appointments elsewhere had to be attended, so it was just typical that the day was mild, sunny and clear!

I did, however, have a pleasant surprise at my garden feeders, as I looked out the window early this morning, a fantastic BRAMBLING (62) was seen in my Elder tree, I grabbed my camera, but with the sunlight not reaching my garden at that time in the morning, plus I took the images through my double glazing, my images were a bit 'unappealing' lets say! Also of note, a little later I saw 33 LAPWINGS fly over, was this the same flock of 33 I saw flyover on the 12th I wonder?

Brambling is a good bird for the November list, they are not recorded every year. Later, in the afternoon, I erected my hide in the garden, hoping the Brambling would return in the now brightly lit feeding area, but alas, there was no sign of it.

Brambling in poor light.

Not a Brambling, but the light was perfect  :-)

Thursday 24 November 2016

This morning was overcast, but dry, with a strong NE wind blowing.

I spent a couple of hours out, during which I visited the lakes and scrubby Woods, any duck species, ( apart from mallard ) would be a bonus on the lakes and a Woodcock in the scrubby Woods would a be a year tick, but only MALLARDS were on the water and there was no Woodcock in the woods, where despite the wind making hearing bird calls difficult, I did find a party of a dozen or so LONG TAILED TITS, accompanied by a few GOLDCRESTS, BLUE TITS, GREAT TITS, 2 NUTHATCHES and a TREECREEPER.

As I was leaving the area I heard the sound of whistling wing beats, I looked up and saw no fewer than 7 MUTE SWANS (61) come over and alight briefly on the main lake, before flying off again - nothing stays long! All but one of the Swans were immature birds. The November species list now goes into the 60's, but I will need two more new species for the month to get up to joint 8th place in the year rankings.

Walking back home across the Ashes Lane Fields, 7 MEADOW PIPITS were seen, plus both KESTREL and BUZZARD flew over.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

The last 3 days have seen rain and wind, which has prevented any lengthy patch visits, just short trips to the lakes were made, just in case a duck had been blown my hadn't!

Today was calm and dry though, but it was very dreary and overcast, this at least gave me a chance to do a full patch walk, but in the 4 hour visit a measly tally of just 39 species were found, mainly due to a very disturbed patch. I did at least add LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL (60) to the months bird list, one flew over Migrant Alley, along with a few HERRING GULLS and BLACK HEADED GULLS, a RING NECKED PARAKEET also flew over, calling noisily as it went.

Just MALLARDS and MOORHENS were present on the lakes, where a CORMORANT circled round, but thought better of alighting on the water.

Just Coal Tit and Stock Dove were missing from my usual list of Woodland Species, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, BULLFINCH, LONG TAILED TIT, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, MISTLETHRUSH and SONGTHRUSH were the best of what was found in the Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods.

Both REDWING and FIELDFARE were seen at the Small Holding Area in small numbers, then along High House Lane a YELLOWHAMMER was seen atop a large poplar tree.

A BUZZARD flew into the Greenhouse Copse, but was the only raptor seen today, the Kestrels had moved elsewhere due to a work crew being at their usual greenhouse haunt.

No chance of any photo's today, as always at this time of year, good light is at a premium!

Saturday 19 November 2016

On a bright and frosty late Autumn morning, I set off out on another full patch walk, the 7th of the month, but the three and a half hour visit proved bitter sweet, with a low tally of just 37 species recorded, however one of those species was CROSSBILL (102, 59) when a flock of 8 flew over the Lake / Scrubby Woods area, calling loudly, a new species for the year list and just the third year of the fifteen so far recorded, in which this species has been seen.

That proved to be the only highlight of the morning, but the woodland parts of my patch yielded plenty of the regular common bird species; GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, CHAFFINCH, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, MISTLETHRUSH, JAY, WREN, ROBIN and DUNNOCK were all very active in the frosty conditions.

The farmland areas of my patch proved very poor again though, just a couple of MEADOW PIPITS were on the Ashes Lane Fields, Migrant Alley had flyovers from single SKYLARK, 4 FIELDFARE, plus the regular Gull species of BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULL.

The Greenhouse Grounds was home, as usual, to the KESTREL pair, plus a few PIED WAGTAILS and GOLDFINCHES were around the place.

The addition of Crossbill to the year list moves this years tally of 102 species into 9th place out of 15. Reaching last years tally of 104 looks a possibility, but the record yearly tally achieved in 2010, which was 113, looks well out of reach now.

Friday 18 November 2016

As there was an hour or so of sunshine this morning, I decided to try and get a few garden bird images rather than visit my patch. During the three hours I was watching and waiting, I recorded 21 species visiting the feeders, These were ; GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, NUTHATCH, WREN, ROBIN, GOLDCREST, GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, DUNNOCK, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, STARLING, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, MAGPIE, JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON, COLLARED DOVE, SPARROWHAWK, plus I heard the LITTLE OWLS calling from the nearby Small Holding Area, where I saw the likes of JAY, CARRION CROW, FIELDFARE, GREEN WOODPECKER and PHEASANT from my vantage point at my upstairs window. Flyovers from HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL and PIED WAGTAIL made it 30 species for my window watch, that's only 11 species less than I recorded on yesterdays full patch walk, amazing that my 50 x 30ft garden can produce more species than all the acres of local farmland put together ! More species probably flew over, but I wasn't trying too hard  :-).

Oh! I did get a few images as well, not everyones favourite species of birds, but I took what I could get  :-)

Not the best angle, for the light, but an ok image of the Sprawk

It only stays for a few brief seconds, so I have to be quick deciding on the camera settings!

I dont get many Magpie images, so i was pleased with these two.

Even if I did chop its tail off !

The Jackdaw used the same perch as the Magpie, another species I dont get many images of

Thursday 17 November 2016

After a reasonably bright start to the day, cloud increased, bringing some hefty showers by mid morning.

I just about about finished a full patch walk before the wind and rain arrived, finding a total of 41 bird species in all, none were new for the November list, which at 58 is still only the ninth highest for the fifteen years of recording, and is still 8 species short of the mean average species tally for the previous 5 Novembers.

Highlights for the day were few, hearing 4 different SONGTHRUSH in song was undoubtedly one, the best of the rest for today were; a KINGFISHER on the main lake, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, a flock of 12 LONG TAILED TITS, a group of 5 BULLFINCHES, plus at least 6 GOLDCRESTS, all at the Scrubby Woods, where the CHIFFCHAFF was again seen. A pair of MISTLETHRUSH, 3 FIELDFARE and a REDWING at the Small Holding Area.

The KESTREL pair hunted between the Ashes Lane Fields and the Greenhouse Grounds, but only MEADOW PIPIT was of note out on the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley today.

An attempt to get some garden bird photo's to brighten the post ended in failure, it's just too dark!

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Another overcast and dull morning, but it was at least very mild, with little wind, making it a very pleasant autumnal full patch walk.

During the little over four hours out, I tallied up 44 bird species, not too bad for November, a pair of LITTLE OWLS (58) that called from the Small Holding Area was an addition to the months list.

A CHIFFCHAFF was again seen at the Scrubby Woods, tagging along with a flock of a dozen or so LONG TAILED TITS, which also had GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, CHAFFINCH and ROBIN mixed in with them. BULLFINCHES called and at least three were seen, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, JAY, STOCK DOVE, MISTLETHRUSH and SONGTHRUSH all turned out with the more common species.

Just a GREY HERON was present of any interest at the lakes, while the farmland areas of my patch attracted few species, best of what was seen there were a small flock of FIELDFARE at the Ashes Lane Fields, plus a dozen MEADOW PIPITS. There were another dozen Meadow Pipits on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley.

The Greenhouse Grounds gave me good views of the KESTREL pair, but the remains of the habitat there had little to offer today, just the usual BLACKBIRDS, PIED WAGTAILS, GOLDFINCH, WREN and DUNNOCK .

A sky watch from my seat overlooking the paddocks and sheep pasture at Migrant Alley added a few bits and pieces for the days list, with singles of SISKIN, LESSER REDPOLL, SKYLARK, LINNET and YELLOWHAMMER, plus a few HERRING GULLS and BLACK HEADED GULLS.

Monday 14 November 2016

A wet and gloomy Monday morning, but I had a visit to the lakes and adjacent Scrubby woods anyway, but the hoped for Goosander on the lakes wasn't present, but I might get one later in the month, as they are regular visitors at this time of the year (That's put the mockers on it!), all that was on the water were the usual MALLARDS and MOORHENS. The scrubby Woods had a good number of birds present, best of, was seeing at least 5 BULLFINCHES, but all the other scarcer species were also seen or heard, they included; GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, MISTLETHRUSH, SONGTHRUSH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, STOCK DOVE and JAY. I also added a CHIFFCHAFF (57) to the months list, one gave some brief song and calls.

Another CHIFFCHAFF was seen over at the Greenhouse Grounds a bit later, where I also watched the KESTREL pair sitting together on one of the greenhouses.

Saturday 12 November 2016

A couple of short patch visits over the last two mornings were undertaken in very contrasting conditions, Friday was bright and sunny, while today was very dull, drizzly and overcast.

A REED BUNTING (55) that flew over Migrant Alley during Fridays visit was the first of the month, but not much else was of note, just a GREY WAGTAIL, plus a light passage of MEADOW PIPITS and SKYLARKS. The KESTREL pair were seen at the Greenhouse Grounds, the only other raptors about were BUZZARDS, which called noisily from the Wet Woods.

This morning I added LAPWING (56) to the months list, a small flock of 33 flew over high House Lane, where I also saw two YELLOWHAMMERS in a hawthorn bush besides Bustard Hill. Little else was noted in the dismal conditions though.

Fridays sunshine allowed for a few of images to be taken of the garden birds at my feeders.


HOUSE SPARROW.....A rare treat now-a-days!


Thursday 10 November 2016

It was overcast and windless this morning, with a light shower or two moving through.

I had a full patch walk today, during which the four hour visit yielded 41 species, eight more than the last full patch walk, but still a bit on the low side for a November visit.

Just one new species was added to the months list when a PHEASANT (54) was seen along High House Lane, that just about completes the regularly recorded species for November, just the Owls to be found now, trying to get anymore will be hard going, hopefully though, I'll get a new Duck species on the lakes at some point this month, today though there were just MALLARDS and MOORHENS, plus a KINGFISHER.

FIELDFARE, REDWING, MEADOW PIPIT, SKYLARK, MISTLETHRUSH, HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL and CORMORANT were the most noteworthy flyovers today. The Scrubby Woods, as ever, held the majority of the woodland species seen this morning, LONG TAILED TIT, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, STOCK DOVE, JAY, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and GREEN WOODPECKER being the pick of those.

The only raptors seen were the KESTREL pair, they sat together on one of the Greenhouses, where they watched a few PIED WAGTAILS flitting about. A small mixed flock of 15 - 20 SISKIN and GOLDFINCH were feeding in the line of Alder trees nearby.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Variable amounts of cloud passed over the area this morning, but there was no frost or wind, making it feel warmer than of late.

A two hour patch visit today, mostly looking around the Lakes and Scrubby Woods, was slightly more lively than of late, with some of the passerines returning from wherever they had disappeared to. I was pleased to see the first TREECREEPER (52) of the month, it was with a small mixed feeding flock of LONG TAILED TITS, BLUE TITS, GREAT TITS and GOLDCRESTS that moved along the banks of the main lake, there was, however, nothing but MALLARDS and MOORHENS out on the water.


It was still very empty as far as birds were concerned over on the farmland areas of my patch, but I did get to see a couple of LINNETS (53) fly over, the first for November, they could well be the last I see here until spring. The only other noteworthy find was the KESTREL pair that sat up on the greenhouses.

Later in the morning, there was a window of opportunity to get some garden bird photo's from my feeders back home, activity is still well below normal, but at least the Sparrowhawk kept away too!

The Nuthatches always provide good photographic poses

A neat female CHAFFINCH was very wary as it ate the sunflower hearts

Anywhere between 4 and 11 COLLARED DOVES hoover up the seed!

Monday 7 November 2016

This morning was mostly cloudy, with a cold north wind blowing, but it remained dry for my two hour patch visit.

As yesterday, there were few passerine birds to be found, but a check of the lakes provided me with views of the first CANADA GEESE (49) of the month, nine of them were joined by a lone GREYLAG GOOSE (50) the 50th species for November.

A cold walk across the Ashes Lane Fields was rewarded with a flyover COMMON GULL (51) to add to the months list, but the rest of my visit was very uneventful.

Sunday 6 November 2016

It was bright, sunny and frosty this morning, an ideal morning for a full patch walk.

After a couple of short patch visits, one on Friday and one on Saturday, in which GREY HERON (46) and REDWING (47) were added to the months list respectively, todays full patch walk proved to be a really poor visit. Just 31 species were recorded, the lowest ever species tally for a full patch walk in the 15 years of recording on my patch, and believe me, some of those walks have been undertaken in much dire conditions than todays!

Much of the walk was almost  birdless, especially out on the farmland areas of my patch, with Migrant Alley, the Ashes Lane Fields and the Pub Fields only yielding the likes of ROOK, CARRION CROW, MAGPIE, JACKDAW, and STARLING between them, MEADOW PIPIT, SKYLARK, BLACK HEADED GULL and HERRING GULL were the only flyovers.

Many of the common and regular species went unseen at the wooded parts of my patch, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, BULLFINCH, SISKIN and  LONG TAILED TIT turned out for the scarcer species, but the likes of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Pheasant, Coal Tit, Greenfinch, Mistlethrush, Treecreeper, Redwing and Fieldfare were all missing today.

No raptors were seen, nor were there any Geese or Owls, things can only improve...surely!

I did add SPARROWHAWK (48) to the months list later in the afternoon when one visited my garden feeding station, not much consolation though  :-(

Thursday 3 November 2016

The second full patch walk of the month was undertaken today, once again there was a slight frost, but it remained dry and sunny for the four hour visit.

A total of 40 bird species were recorded, three of those were new for the month, those being SISKIN (43), MISTLETHRUSH (44) and more unexpectedly, RING NECKED PARAKEET (45), all were recorded flying over the Scrubby Woods / Lakes area, the latter species were seen firstly as just 2 birds, but following them, shortly after, were a flock of 11 birds, yet more were heard going over as I was under the canopy of the Scrubby Woods.

A KINGFISHER was the only species of interest at the lakes, while the farmland areas of my patch held very little, just a couple of MEADOW PIPITS on the Ashes Lane Fields of note. The female KESTREL was at the Greenhouse Grounds and a BUZZARD called from the Greenhouse copse. A short sky watch from my seat at Migrant Alley produced a few SKYLARK and PIED WAGTAIL, as well as a few HERRING GULLS and BLACK HEADED GULLS, not much reward for a chilly watch!

I failed with the camera today, but a visit to my garden feeders by a JAY gives me hope that it will become a regular, allowing for some images when the sunshine returns  :-)

Wednesday 2 November 2016

A crisp and frosty start to the morning was a bit of a shock after the recent balmy conditions!

I visited the lakes and Scrubby Woods first thing, hoping to pick up a few of the missing regular species for the October list, I didn't add anything there, but on the way, as I passed through the Small holding, I did find STOCK DOVE (41) and GREENFINCH (42) for the months list.

At least 5 BUZZARDS were seen over the area, 3 of those were soaring up together in the blue sky over Migrant Alley, they were the only raptors seen today though. Very little else to note today that wasn't seen yesterday.

I spent a few hours trying to take some photo's of the garden birds at my feeding station, but little is visiting, despite the cooler weather,a COAL TIT was the first for a month though.

There is always a GOLDFINCH to photograph, just to keep my hand in  :-)

This immature WOODPIGEON had its fill of the sunflower hearts too.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

The new month kicked off overcast, dull and misty, with very little wind.

As usual, the first of the month brought about a full patch walk, in which 40 bird species were found, an about average tally for November. Some regularly seen species went unseen, such as Treecreeper, Stock Dove, Greenfinch, Mistlethrush, Redwing, Pheasant and Sparrowhawk, but to compensate, I recorded a few scarcer patch birds, such as a KINGFISHER at the Lakes, a GREY WAGTAIL around the adjacent out buildings, plus a couple of fly over LESSER REDPOLL that called as they flew over the nearby Scrubby Woods, also, a CORMORANT flew over.

A couple of YELLOWHAMMER were seen outside the Greenhouse copse, another species that can now be classed as a patch scarcity, gone are the days when flocks of 40-60 could be seen out on the arable fields, diving to and from the hedgerows, but then, the arable fields are now silage and the hedgerows are barely worth the name!

KESTREL and BUZZARD showed for the Raptors, plus HERRING GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL for the Larids. Not much else of note was found, a few MEADOW PIPITS are hanging around the Ashes Lane Fields, they may hang about for a few weeks yet, depending on the weather, plus a small passage of WOODPIGEON and FIELDFARE was observed heading south.