Sunday, 27 July 2014

I undertook a full patch walk this morning, the 10th and last for July, I like to keep an average of 10 full patch walks per month  :-)  It was cooler this morning with the odd sunny spell, but it felt much more comfortable than the recent hot and muggy conditions.

The first two birds on my list of the 51 species recorded today were not the usual characters, a PHEASANT and a NUTHATCH were both heard to call as I set off down Ashes lane, these were quickly followed by the common regulars of BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, GREENFINCH, CHAFFINCH, SWALLOW, GOLDFINCH, WOODPIGEON, MAGPIE, JACKDAW, BLACKBIRD, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, WREN, and COLLARED DOVE.

At least two WHITETHROATS and a CHIFFCHAFF were in the Greenhouse Grounds, finding what cover they could, which included  the spokes of the bicycles that were leaning up against a tree  :-) A KESTREL was also seen hunting around the glasshouses, plus four JAYS were an unusual sight for this part of my patch.

Out on Migrant Alley there were at least 150 STARLINGS with the Corvid flock, a few more Linnets and Goldfinch were present with them, as were a couple of PIED WAGTAILS. The Swallows were coming down to a leaky water trough to drink, allowing for a photo.

The Small Holding had a MISTLETHRUSH present, as well as a calling LITTLE OWL the best sightings there, while the Wet Woods had both GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS calling, plus TREECREEPER and STOCK DOVE seen. Over on the lakes the regular MUTE SWAN, COOT, MALLARD and MOORHENS were joined by the less regular KINGFISHER, GREY HERON and two MANDARIN DUCKS, there were also around 50 GREYLAG GEESE on the main lake.

The Scrubby Woods added BLACKCAP, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST and BULLFINCH to my day list, but I didn't stay too long there, instead preferring to go over to my seat at Migrant Alley for a sky watch, which provided the likes of LESSER BLACK BACKED, HERRING, and BLACK HEADED GULLS, as well as SPARROWHAWK, BUZZARD, more Kestrel and Greylag Goose sightings, and a whole host of SWIFTS moving high over, however, the bird of the day for me was the GREY WAGTAIL (70) that flew low over, calling as it went, which takes the months bird list to 70 species, setting a new July species record  :-)

Whilst watching the garden feeders this afternoon, I noticed a immature Collared Dove with two adults, at last successful breeding has been confirmed for this species! That will be about it for breeding species this year now, with 43 species having been proven to have bred on my patch, and another 4 probably breeding, but not found evidence for, those being Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Stock Dove and Lesser Whitethroat. This years 47 species compares with the 49 recorded in 2011, 48 recorded in 2012 and 46 recorded last year.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker young are still regulars at my feeders, they are slowly losing there red crowns  :-)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Once again the early cloud burnt off by 09:30hrs, leaving the rest of the visit hot and humid.

I spent around 90 minutes, in the cool of the early morning, sitting on my seat over at Migrant Alley hoping that my sky watch would produce one more new species for the month and so set a new July record. It didn't materialise though, but the sky was a bit busier than the last few mornings, with GREY HERON, HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL all flying over, along with a few skeins of both CANADA and GREYLAG GEESE. Two SWIFTS were noted also, and a superb HOBBY put on a show for me, chasing the 30-40 SWALLOWS over the sheep pasture. KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK also drifted past.

I made a visit to the lakes and Scrubby Woods, again hoping for one more new species to turn up to set the July record, I could hope that a Marsh Tit or Willow Warbler might visit, or a duck species on the lake, but it didn't happen today! On the main lake there were at least 60 Greylag Geese, with 5 Canada Geese, the 4 MANDARIN DUCK were also seen, as was a Grey heron. The ornamental lake was home to just the MUTE SWAN and COOT family, with a couple of MALLARD and around a dozen MOORHEN.

In the Scrubby Woods, bird song tailed off as the heat set in, but COAL TIT, BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF sang for a while, and the calls of NUTHATCH, BULLFINCH and TREECREEPER were heard. I also had a glimpse of a LESSER WHITETHROAT, a species that I thought was new for this month, I was happy to think I had set a new July record, until I later added todays sightings to my spreadsheet and saw I had already seen one earlier in the month  :-(

The only WHITETHROAT of the day was seen along the drainage ditch in the ashes lane field as I searched it for a possible migrant Sedge Warbler, not had one this year yet! With 5 visits left this month to find that new species, I feel quietly confident that I will indeed find it  :-)

The Ruddy Darters were at the now virtually dry run off pool at the Ashes Lane Field, I had hoped for a Grey Wagtail to be feeding there  :-)