Sunday, 28 September 2014

Thursday 25th I managed a quick walk before work as I was due in a bit later and was pleasantly surprised to find another Whinchat in the field behind Kirkins Cottages. Better was to come when I found not one but a pair of Stonechats(102) flitting alond the fenceline. Whilst I was watching them a Willow Warbler followed them along it.A dozen Swallows passed over head and around fiftyLinnets were also there.
At the lake another female Teal was present plus eleven Mandarins,twenty six Canada Geese withthe Greylag Goose in tow. The first Water Rail of the autumn was heard an d Kingfisher,Grey Heron and a Grey Wagtail were present. In the paddock at Shirrenden there were thirty four Stock Doves and thirty Meadow Pipits.
The walk on Saturday was a very enjoyable one even though no new species were seen. There were still a few summer migrants around with two Blackcaps, eight Chiffchaffs, twenty five Swallows, thirty House Martins and two Yellow Wagtails over. The Whinchat and one Stonechat was still in the weedy field.
There was a good mixed flock of tits which also held a few Goldcrests but alas no Firecrest.
Today started with pretty thick fog which slowly cleared during my walk.
The sun trying to break through the early morning fog 
Once the fog had cleared I found the Whinchat behind Kirkins and with it were two Stonechats. At least one of these birds was new as both were males. Its amazing that the Whinchat has stayed around this long or is it a different bird? The Linnet flock comprised around seventy birds and fifty Meadow Pipits were also present. 
When it was still foggy I could hear geese in a nearby field and as the fog cleared they took off and landed on the lake where I counted one hundred and six Canada Geese and one Greylag Goose.
As it really started to brighten up a few Small Copper butterflies emerged.
Small Copper
I'm hoping that the Whinchat stays around for a few more days as it would make a great October record.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Summer has passed.

The weather conditions had changed considerably a walk on the patch this morning with quite a strong northerly breeze blowing.
Two of the three Whinchats were still present in Kirkins( been here since last Sunday).
Also in the field was a flock of about forty Linnets and seventy Meadow Pipits.
A Yew tree at the top of the field held Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes feeding on it's berries but no early winter thrushes, alas!
As expected summer migrants had mostly disappeared but there were still plenty of Chiffchaffs around and Swallows passing overhead in different directions. Two House Martins were also seen.
At the lake the the Buzzard family were being harried by the local crows. there was a large mixed flock containing Blue, Long-tailed, Great, Coal and best of all a Marsh Tit.This is only the second record this year and was very welcome. As well as the Tits there were also four Goldcrests,a Treecreeper and two Nuthatches.
The lake itself held eleven Mandarins,thirty Mallards,a dozen Moorhens and a single Coot.
The two young Great crested Grebes are still doing well but there is only one adult with them.
During a walk this afternoon  a Whitethroat was found in a blackberry patch in Haymans Hill.
With the nights drawing in I have resorted to walking down at the lake on my way to work in the semi darkness,which has produced a few Tawny Owls calling and lots of bats.
On the insect front there were still a few Migrant Hawkers around the lake and last weekend we had a Hummingbird Hawk Moth in the garden.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Mid September update

August passed with the last week being a family holiday to Corfu. We stayed in a lovely little village called Kassiopi, which is situated in the north East of the island. It wasn't exactly the best place form a birding perspective but I did manage to add a few species to my list.
All my birding was done in a little valley just outside the resort which I visited at first light. This produced a few different warblers with Wood Warblers seen every day. New species for me were Icterine Warbler, Orphean Warbler and on the last day a Ruppell's Warbler.
Others seen were the inevitable Sardinian Warblers plus Olive Tree Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Great Reed Warbler and my first Collared Flycatcher. There were always good numbers of Swallow and House Martins and Red Rumped Swallows but the only Swifts seen were Alpine which I found quite surprising. In the evenings a Scops Owl called being joined by a second bird in the middle of the week and eventually I got to see it. My first sighting of this species as I have only ever managed to just hear them.
Butterflies were quite numerous with plenty of Scarce Swallowtails and one common Swallowtail. The only butterflies I managed to photograph were a Southern Comma
Southern Comma
and a Fritillary which I don't know-if anyone could identify it I would be very grateful.
Any ideas anyone!
Back to the patch and and a walk on the sixth produced 50 species with a decent size mixed flock of Tits and Warblers and my first Autumn Meadow Pipit and what will I am sure will be my last Swift of the year.
Dropping in to the lake on my way home from work has produced some good flocks of House Martins with a couple of hundred on the eleventh. That morning, on the way to work there were 26 Canadas and a Greylag on the lake plus 15 Mandarins and two more Teal.
During yesterdays walk I found two Willow Warblers and a Reed Warbler still hanging around the lake with ten Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap. 
This morning I had to go to work but on a walk with Phyl late this afternoon I found three Whinchat(101) in the field behind Kirkins Cottages in Furnace Lane. This was especially pleasing as I didn't record the species last year. With limited time and the nights drawing in I think it is going to be a struggle to move the year total along but you have always got remain optimistic I suppose.