Monday, 20 October 2014

Early cloud dispersed this morning to leave another unseasonably warm day, with some good sunny spells to enjoy  :-)

I headed for the lakes first thing, but it was crossing through the Small Holding that I added another species to the October list when the anticipated SISKIN (71) flew over calling, hopefully they will arrive in numbers soon. That makes this Octobers species tally the 4th best October of the 13 years, still 6 species behind the record October tally set in 2010 though.

Walking through the Wet Woods I heard GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS calling and a couple of MOORHENS were seen picking their way through the small pools of shallow water, I was hoping for a Teal though  :-)

I was disappointed at the lakes again, just a pair of MANDARIN DUCK were there of any note, they were hiding under the tree overhang on the main lake. The adjacent scrubby Woods was very quiet, only BULLFINCH (around 6-8 of them) GOLDCREST ( 4 were seen) and a flock of around 8 LONG TAILED TITS were to be found out of the more scarce woodland species.

I made my way over to the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley via the Ashes Lane Fields, where I noted a CORMORANT flying over. The MEADOW PIPITS at Migrant Alley seem to have dispersed, only half a dozen were seen, it was the same for the LINNETS, just 4 were left, but the GOLDFINCHES numbered around 35 and were found in the Alders that form the boundary with the Greenhouse Grounds. I checked the Greenhouse Copse for a Little Owl, but it wasn't to be found today, however i found something much better, yet another STONECHAT ! It flew from the edge of the copse and out onto a paddock fence line, what a good autumn its been for this species, normally they are hard to get on the year list, but this is the 6th record for just this month!

A bit of sky watching was done from my seat, where of note I saw another Cormorant go over, a few SKYLARKS, a GREY WAGTAIL, and hundreds of WOODPIGEONS all heading SW in varying size flocks. Raptors were only represented by the KESTREL pair and a lone BUZZARD today.

Speaking of raptors, it was whilst trying to get some garden bird images this afternoon, that I of course encountered the SPARROWHAWK again, it made so many attacks that virtually nothing else was seen at the feeders, just a few brave BLUE and GREAT TITS, however, it finally got its dinner when a GREENFINCH was unfortunate enough to turn up  :-(  The Sprawk settled down just 4 meters from my position (in my shed) so close I couldn't get all of it in the view finder, a shame but I got some more decent images of it's upper body!

What superb eye! If you look carefully you can see the reflection of the sun and clouds in it!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Early rain and a busy Sunday schedule meant that only another short patch visit was possible today, just 90 minutes were spent out, in which I walked the Greenhouse Grounds, part of Migrant Alley and the ashes Lane Field.

The rain ceased around 9:00hrs, so the most productive part of the day had been missed, however, I saw the BULLFINCH pair in the Ashes lane hedgerow again, wont be long before this habitat gets the chop  :-( I found a CHIFFCHAFF at the Greenhouse Grounds, along with the KESTREL pair and at least 9 DUNNOCKS, where did they suddenly pop up from ? The 30-40 strong LINNET x GOLDFINCH flock was still on the paddocks at Migrant Alley, while the MEADOW PIPITS were in the adjacent long grass of the sheep pasture, it was hard to tell how many as they flew in and out of cover, at least 20 I'd estimate.

A BUZZARD flew low over the Ashes Lane Fields and a couple of SKYLARKS flew up, but easily the best sighting for the day was another STONECHAT, once again on the fenceline above the drainage ditch, that's four this Autumn that have found this 200 meter stretch of ditch to their liking, it's all under threat of destruction of course  :-(

I was sweating as I walked home, it was that warm today, even with the moderate SW wind blowing, so no chance of finding my first Fieldfare of the Autumn, or for that matter the first Lesser Redpoll or Siskin, a good Northerly blow is needed! Looking at my stats, the average first sighting date for Fieldfare is the 17th October, for the Siskin it's the 9th October and the Lesser Redpoll the 20th October........any day now then  :-)

Oh, nearly forgot to mention, today is the 7th anniversary of this blog, how things have changed here in the past 7 years!

Last of my images from the blog folder!