Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Late August Update

The month has moved along at a great pace and the patch is still busy with migrants passing through or sticking around whilst they moult.
Warblers are still around in good numbers although they have dropped off a bit.
The 20th produced the first Coot for quite a while and the following day I had a Hobby. On the 22nd there was a flock of Mistle Thrushes in the orchard which totalled 31! In the paddock in Shirrenden there was also an impressive 20 Spotted Flycatchers.
Early morning on the 25th  sixty House Martins flew east over the lake which also had 35 Swallows and 10 House Martins flitting up and down it.
The 26th produced another species in the shape of 4 Yellow Wagtails(109) going over and a Tufted Duck visited the lake on the 27th.
The most extraordinary sighting occurred at 17.30pm this afternoon when I was at the kitchen sink. As I looked out towards the village hall roof a bird appeared on the apex of it but before I could get my binoculars had disappeared again. A couple of minutes later it reappeared and as I got my binoculars on it, I could see that it was a Wheatear(110).Unfortunately it disappeared again as I went for my camera, a fantastic addition to the garden list and one I don't expect to repeat any time soon.
With the sunny weather there have been god numbers of Butterflies with plenty of Common Blues, Small and Large Whites,Tortoiseshells plus 2 Clouded Yellows.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Saturday 17th August

As I left the house this morning I was greeted by the sound of House Martins over head, There seems to be a few more around at the moment.
Into the top of Kirkins and I soon found a group of warblers in the mass of brambles which included 4Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler,a Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, a Blackcap, a Reed Warbler and 2 Lesser Whitethroats( the first since 9th May) a truly wonderful collection of birds.
As I watched them a lone Herring Gull went over, quickly followed by a Lesser Black-backed Gull. As I walked down the field I added Goldfinch, Linnet, Swallow Jackdaw and Rook.
On the rape stubble in Furnace Lane I found 5 Stockdoves, 7 Wood Pigeon and a Collared Dove.
I decided on a look in the small horse paddock opposite the lake where I found 6 Spotted Flycatchers with some more warblers.
At the lake the overgrown ditch produced absolutely nothing! You can't win them all! The lake itself held the usual Mandarins, Moorhens and Mallards and as I approached it a Cormorant flew off and a Kingfisher shot past.
Around the other side of the lake, on the Shirrenden side I came across the mixed flock which also contained some tits in the shape of 8 Blue, 2 Coal, 3 Great and 6 Long-tailed Tits plus 10 or more Willow Warblers and 9 Spotted Flycatchers. As I was trying to sift through them 2 Turtle Doves went overhead.
I checked the stock pond where the water level is dropping, hoping I might find a wader,but alas.
Whilst here I found a Clouded Yellow :-
Male Clouded Yellow Butterfly
On the other side of the field I found a Painted Lady and Small Copper as well as lots of whites, Meadow Browns and Common Blues.
Painted Lady
Small Copper
The only dragonflies were a Black tailed Skimmer, 2 Migrant Hawkers and a Brown Hawker.
 The only raptor seen was a female Sparrowhawk but in all 48 bird species were seen during two and a half hours.

Friday, 16 August 2013

This weeks patch visits have been restricted to early in the morning, before work and on the way home.
The large flock of warblers was still in evidence on Wednesday morning with good numbers of Willow Warblers still around.Wednesday evening produced a flock of 22 Long-tailed Tits in the trees on the dam end.
On Thursday evening 15 House Martins plus 6 Swallows were feeding over the lake.
This morning the overgrown ditch at the southern end turned up another Sedge Warbler along with 2 Whitethroats and a Reed Warbler at 06.00am. During a walk in the drizzle this evening 5 Sand Matrins dropped in before flying off to the South East.The lake held 14 Mandarins and a kingfisher of note.
On the butterfly front I had my first ever Clouded Yellow on the patch on Wednesday and there were 2 G-R dragonflies in the ditch opposite the Pumping station.
I'm looking forward to a good walk tomorrow morning.  

Sunday, 11 August 2013

End of week round-up

At last I've managed a bit of birding on the patch!
There certainly has been an increase in the number of warblers around the lake and Wednesday produced a new species for the year list when the overgrown ditch at the southern end of the lake gave me my first Sedge Warbler(108) this year.
This morning there were about 15 Willow Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler,4 Coal Tits, 10 Blue Tits, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Spotted Flycatchers  and a couple of Goldcrests in a large roving flock. Surprisingly I only found about 6 Chiffchaffs with them. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was also seen in the trees nearby.
The lake held 16 Mandarins but little else of interest.
Round on the Shirrenden side I stumbled across this Roe buck which took flight into the wood, barking and as it did so.
Roe relaxing in the sun
On Thursday evening I saw a Roe doe with two fawns in the same area.
There were plenty of Cinnabar Moth caterpillars on the Ragwort :-
Cinnabar Moth caterpillar
I also got a reasonable shot of a Common Blue :-
Common Blue male
I couldn't resist taking another shot of the G-R Dragonfly which was still about in the week :-
G-R Dragonfly

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The patch has been somewhat neglected of late due to work commitments and that fact that we have been away at weekends.
A couple of weeks ago we spent a long weekend down at Fleet in Dorset where we camped with friends overlooking Chesil beach. A great campsite!
I managed a bit of birding at Studland where I spent a bit of time photographing butterflies and a Dartford Warbler which wouldn't keep still.
                                                  Painted Lady


                                                        Any ideas what this is?
Wood Tiger Beetle
Dartford Warbler in gorse. Honest!!
Back at home a walk on Sunday 4th produced plenty of warblers with a few Willow Warblers around the lake, including a singing male in a large mixed flock with tits, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Goldcrests. Around the paddocks there was a family of Spotted Flycatchers and a juvenile Kestrel. The stock pond held 18 Canada Geeese and 2 Grey Herons. On the lake itself were 82 Mallards and 5 Mandarins.
The overgrown ditch that leads down to the lake held a few juvenile Reed Warblers and Whitethroats. This looks like it might be a bit of habitat that might produce a few birds in the next couple of months.
As I was leaving the lake two Kingfishers flew up the lake.
On monday 19 Mandarins were on the lake and a G-R Dragonfly was still in the ditch opposite the pumping station in Furnace Lane.
Hopefully I should get to do a bit more birding in the coming weeks.