Wednesday, 20 August 2014

It was chilly this morning under a clear sky, but it soon warmed up as the sun rose higher.

As I walked through the Greenhouse Grounds first thing this morning, the only birds that caught my interest were 3-4 WHITETHROAT and a KESTREL that sat up on one of the greenhouse rooves. I crossed into Migrant Alley and was very pleased to see 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS feeding around the horses on one of the paddocks, but not much else was out there. I completed the circular walk around Migrant Alley and walked along the boundary that joined the Greenhouse Grounds, it was here in the tall hedge that I spotted a REED WARBLER (76), another species for the August list, and a real good one to get on my patch  :-)

I re-entered the Greenhouse Grounds and in the hour it had taken me to walk a circuit of Migrant Alley the place had been transformed, it was thronging with birds! There was a feeding flock of GREENFINCH and LINNET on the floor where the scrub had been removed, about a dozen of each, these were joined by a couple of PIED WAGTAILS, a couple of ROBINS, half a dozen HOUSE SPARROWS, a SONGTHRUSH and 3 DUNNOCKS, I was suddenly aware of a scurrying bird running across the bare earth and was surprised to see a WHEATEAR! Two young GREEN WOODPECKERS flew in to join the party and nearby in the vegetation I saw CHIFFCHAFF, WILLOW WARBLER, BLACKCAP and GARDEN WARBLER plus the BULLFINCH family and around 30 GOLDFINCH feeding on the thistle heads, all this with the usual BLACKBIRD, WREN, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, and CHAFFINCH activity made for quite a spectacle  :-)

Immature Green woodpecker


I stayed around the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley for some time, always having the feeling that something else may be lurking, but nothing more showed up, and by 10:00hrs the fruit pickers turned up and the birds soon dispersed or scattered into cover. I walked up to my nearby sky watching seat, and during a 40 minute watch saw some birds of interest, including a pair of PEREGRINES that flew over low, as well as two BUZZARDS soaring, also seen were a SWIFT, a CORMORANT and a few HOUSE MARTINS feeding up with the SWALLOWS. The Wheatear seen earlier was now on the paddock fence line at Migrant Alley.

With most of the morning now gone, my visit to the woods and lakes was only brief, but I found NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, JAY, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and another single Blackcap and 2 more Chiffchaff. On the lakes a GREY HERON was seen, plus 27 CANADA GEESE which had among them a white hybrid goose, and my old mate the BARNACLE GOOSE  :-)

On the way home I stopped off at the edge of the Wet Woods to see if I could improve on my Migrant Hawker Dragonfly images, i'll post them up tomorrow, but until then, here's a few Willow warbler shots from earlier in the day.

Willow Warbler, it didn't want to smile for the camera did it!!

Nearly forgot to say............I found this huge moth on the side of my house, I think its a Large Red Underwing, it certainly showed a striking red colour on its inner wings when it flew, one for the 'Moffers' out there  :-)

Not the best image, it was bit high up

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Another quite cool morning with a chilly breeze, but at times some sunshine broke through, helping to lift the temperature.

There was a bit more of interest about for todays visit, I again found the immature GREY WAGTAIL at it's favoured spot in the Greenhouse Grounds, where at least 4 WHITETHROAT were also seen, plus the female KESTREL was perched on the greenhouse roof. A family of BULLFINCH were a nice find, they have done well here this year  :-)

A circuit of the paddocks and pasture at Migrant Alley was mostly very quiet again, but a YELLOW WAGTAIL dropped in to feed among the horses for a short while, and the Wooded Headland had a LITTLE OWL fly out from it, another Little Owl was seen in the old gnarled Walnut Tree over in the Ashes lane Field later in the walk. The drainage ditch that runs the length of the field had a couple more Whitethroat and a family of DUNNOCKS in it, while overhead a passing flock of HOUSE MARTIN stayed for a few minutes to feed around a lone Oak Tree, allowing me to pick out a SAND MARTIN among them.

Immature Dunnock at the Ashes lane drainage ditch

My find of the day was over at the Small Holding area, where in amongst a moderate sized feeding flock, which contained minimum counts of ; 6 CHAFFINCH, 2 NUTHATCH, 2 TREECREEPER, 5 GREAT TITS, 8 BLUE TITS, 6 LONG TAILED TITS, 2 GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, a JAY and 4 ROBINS, were also 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (75) two were Immature birds, probably the family I saw last month, they have probably been hiding just off patch at the adjacent golf course since that sighting. Nice to find them for the months list though, which at 75 species, has now reached the joint second best August tally, joint with 2011, but still 3 behind the record tally set in 2010, with a bit of luck I could reach that total again  :-)

Over in the Woods and lake area it was only slightly busier than yesterday, with BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF and another Whitethroat seen, the lakes had 9 CANADA GEESE visit, but nothing more had joined the regular species there.

On the walk home I stopped off at the edge of the Wet Woods to try and find some Dragonflies, there were a few about, with Southern and Migrant Hawkers being seen, as well as Common and Ruddy Darter, whilst there I saw SPARROWHAWK and 3 BUZZARD up soaring together.

Common Buzzard

I tried to get some Migrant Hawker shots, and although I did manage a few, they never quite sat right, or were to high up, or the sun went in, or the wind blew them around, .................things are never straight forward with this photography lark!

Male Migrant Hawker