Saturday, 1 August 2015

The weather was fine and sunny, with virtually no wind, perfect for the first full patch walk of the new month.

August can be a rewarding month for me, my patch can attract a good number of passage migrants, hopefully this August will be a good one for them. My target, is as always, to beat the record tally for the upcoming month, the challenge is set high for August, the record being 78, which was set in both 2010 and 2014, it is the second highest tally for any month of any year!

Here's how I kicked off the August tally then, in the order of appearance......

The first dozen birds were all seen as I left my house and walked along Ashes Lane, those being, CARRION CROW, GREENFINCH, COLLARED DOVE, CHAFFINCH, WOODPIGEON, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, JACKDAW, BLUE TIT, ROBIN, WREN, GOLDFINCH and SONGTHRUSH. Turing into the Greenhouse Grounds I added SWALLOW, GREEN WOODPECKER, WHITETHROAT, BLACKBIRD, MAGPIE, KESTREL, PIED WAGTAIL and GREAT TIT.

A circuit of Migrant Alley, taking in the Wooded Headland and the Greenhouse Copse, increased the days list handsomely, with LINNET, DUNNOCK, HOUSE SPARROW, BLACKCAP, JAY, STARLING, ROOK, and CHIFFCHAFF, flyover CANADA GEESE, GREYLAG GEESE, HERRING GULL, STOCK DOVE and a fantastic HOBBY that chased the Swallows over the paddocks. This REED BUNTING was a good find, a scarce bird indeed on my patch.


I took a distant shot of it


Then managed a closer, but still obscured shot,

With the days tally on 34, additions became a bit slower, with just NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER and LITTLE OWL added as I walked High House Lane, the Small Holding and the Wet Woods. The lakes incremented the days tally, by 4, with MOORHEN, MALLARD, MANDARIN DUCK and GREY HERON all being seen, then the Scrubby Woods chipped in with its only two additions, the BULLFINCH, which a family party was watched feeding on Elder Berries, and a COAL TIT which gave some song. Whilst in the Scrubby Woods I encountered a couple of Southern Hawker Dragonflies, but just manged to spook them before I got an image, one for another time, I did however get some more Brown Hawker images, i'll take that!


This looks to be a different one to the couple I photographed last week, judging by the wing damage seen.




After my Dragonfly encounters, I moved on to look around the Ashes Lane Fields and the Pub Field, only adding BUZZARD, BLACK HEADED GULL, SPARROWHAWK, (the fourth raptor of the visit), and SWIFT, which all flew over.

Tallying up the total, I recorded 48 birds in all, not a bad start to the month, just 32 more to beat the record August total then!!

Friday, 31 July 2015

As yesterday, there were some long sunny spells this morning, before cloud rolled in for much of the afternoon.

I made much effort to try and add another new species for the months list during todays patch visit, it being the last of the month, but alas, none were found, so the July tally stays on 64, which is only the joint 7th best July total out of 14 and is 3 short of the average July total for the previous five years. No new species species were added to the 14 year combined July list, which remains at 93. Species that have occurred in ten or more of the past 13 July's but not this July......Turtle Dove, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Cuckoo, and Nightingale, this shows the sorry decline of our summer migrant species here.

Today's notable species, for my patch at least, were flyovers from GREY HERON and CORMORANT, plus a mixed gull flock, that circled over the Pub Field as the Wheat there was being harvested ( which will now make the footpath there accessible to me again) the flock consisting of mainly HERRING GULLS with smaller numbers of BLACK HEADED GULLS and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL.

Other noteworthy species were, the SPARROWHAWK which was seen being chased by at least 30 SWALLOWS as it flew over the Greenhouse Grounds where the two KESTREL young still live and thrive, at least two BUZZARDS that flew low over the Ashes Lane Field and a LITTLE OWL that called from the Small Holding area.

SWIFTS were very visible high in the sky, flocks of up to 30-40 birds flew over at intervals throughout the morning. There were 14 CANADA GEESE on the main lake, along with 9 MALLARDS, the other two smaller lakes had just a few MOORHENS present.

COAL TIT, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, JAY, STOCK DOVE, BULLFINCH, CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, plus SONGTHRUSH were all seen along with the common regular species during my walk, the only real surprise omission was Long Tailed Tit.


The WHITETHROAT family were again in their favoured area at the Greenhouse Grounds



I got a snapshot of this SPARROWHAWK this afternoon as it payed a visit to my garden feeding station.


I need say nothing more than this photo shows to show my disgust at the irresponsibility of some of the local dog owners here.