Tuesday, 2 September 2014

First thing this morning it was very dull and dreary, with heavy cloud cover and a slight mist. Eventually the cloud parted and some sunshine was enjoyed this afternoon.

A skein of 13 CANADA GEESE (57) flew over Ashes lane as I left the house this morning, a good start to the day  :-) My walk around Migrant Alley once again provided the migrants, with the 3 WHINCHATS still here, plus a YELLOW WAGTAIL that flew up from the sheep pasture. The Wooded Headland to the North of the paddocks had a flock of 8 LONG TAILED TITS (58) moving through it, but nothing much interesting was seen with them, just a few BLUE TITS, GREAT TITS and CHAFFINCHES.

As I entered the Ashes Lane Field, I scanned the fence line that runs above the drainage ditch and was surprised to see a BUZZARD (59) perched up, accompanied by a couple of CARRION CROWS and a WOODPIGEON, it isn't often the Buzzards perch up on my patch, nice to see though  :-)  The old shack on the other side of the field had a LITTLE OWL sat on it, giving me good views.

Over on the lakes today the Coot had gone missing again, but there was a GREY HERON (60) seen there, the 60th species for the month, nothing else but the regular MUTE SWAN family, MOORHEN and MALLARDS were with it though.

The adjacent Scrubby Woods was deathly quiet, a CHIFFCHAFF that sang there represented the only Warbler species seen on todays patch visit. Walking back through the Wet Woods I heard TREECREPER, NUTHATCH and GOLDCREST calling.

My sky watch from my seat over at Migrant Alley didn't add anything further to the months list, but LESSER BLACK BACKED, BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULLS were all seen going over, along with a steady passage of SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS. SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL were also up hunting, but no Hobby today.

Tempted out by some warm Sunshine this afternoon, I decided to go and look for some Dragonflies over at the Greenhouse Grounds, I found Southern and Migrant Hawkers, plus a few Common Darters, and photographed a Small Copper Butterfly, the first seen for some weeks, but the best sighting was of a LESSER WHITETHROAT (61) that I saw feeding on the Blackberries, a pristine individual, and an absolutely cracking looking bird  :-)

Here's the Dragonfly images I took this afternoon, more Southern hawker photo's!!

The light was up and down, making the task more difficult than normal

The sun came out for a short time, but it mostly hid behind a large cloud,

Monday, 1 September 2014

As always, the first day of the new month demands a full patch walk to get the species list off to the best start possible.

It was partly cloudy with the odd sunny spell at 06:00hrs as I set off from my house, it all seemed a bit quiet, with ROBIN, JACKDAW, GOLDFINCH, BLACKBIRD, WOODPIGEON, MAGPIE, BLUE TIT and CARRION CROW the only species seen or heard as I walked the 200 meters to the Greenhouse Grounds, where it was also quieter than of late, but GREEN WOODPECKER, STARLING, LINNET, CHAFFINCH, WREN, DUNNOCK, PIED WAGTAIL and BLACKCAP were up and about.

Crossing into Migrant Alley I had high hopes of adding a few passage migrant species to the months list, which I did when a couple of YELLOW WAGTAILS flew up from the sheep pasture, the ROOKS were just arriving to feed on the paddocks, plus a few SWALLOWS were skimming around the sheep, the best find though were the two WHINCHAT sitting on the hedgerow, good to get them on the September list! The Wooded Headland had a calling CHIFFCHAFF for the mornings tally and the Greenhouse Copse had the only WHITETHROAT of the day on its eastern edge. Passing back through the Greenhouse Grounds I added GREENFINCH and DUNNOCK that weren't seen there earlier.

The Ashes Lane Field had a few nice flyovers, with a couple of MEADOW PIPITS and a couple of MISTLETHRUSHES as well as the more usual HERRING GULL and COLLARED DOVE, but nothing was along the drainage ditch.

Over on the lakes I found a few good species to add to the September list, KINGFISHER, MANDARIN DUCK and CORMORANT had joined the regulars of MUTE SWAN, MALLARD, COOT and MOORHEN. The adjacent Scrubby Woods was good for BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, JAY and STOCK DOVE, but bit of a bonus was seeing a WILLOW WARBLER there  :-)

My next visit was to the Wet Woods, a dark, damp and gloomy place at the best of times, but a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was found there. Exiting the Wet Woods out into the Small Holding I was pleased to hear a LITTLE OWL calling, these can be hard to find in September, plenty of other Tits and Finches were seen here, but nothing to add to the months list. I made my way along Ashes lane again, finding the HOUSE SPARROWS that frequent the gardens there, then headed for Migrant Alley to get the end of visit sky watch done.

Taking my position on my seat, I scanned the fence lines before the sky, and quickly found that the two Whinchats were now three! Searching the sky for the first raptors to add to the months list was harder going than yesterday, only HOBBY and KESTREL turned up, but I added BLACK HEADED GULL and LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL which brought up the 50 species for the day, a good day total at any time, but that total was extended to 55 when I heard a PHEASANT call from the Greenhouse Grounds, then found at least 2 SAND MARTINS and a lone SWIFT among a passing flock of HOUSE MARTINS, a GREY WAGTAIL then flew over calling loudly, alighting briefly at the Greenhouse Grounds before being flushed off by the arrival of the fruit pickers.

The excellent haul of 55 species was added to this afternoon when a SPARROWHAWK visited my garden feeders, 56 species for the day! To think I didn't find Song Thrush, Long Tailed Tit, Buzzard, Grey heron or any Geese this morning! Surely reaching the holy grail of ''60 species in a day'' should have been possible :-(

The September list has started extremely well then, but I need to find another 22 species to equal the September record of 78, which was set set in 2009. I'll be content with finding 74 though, which is the average tally for the previous 5 Septembers  :-)

No luck with the camera this morning, and the light went this afternoon, so todays post is photo-less!