Sunday, 23 September 2012

22nd Sept - 100 up!!

I managed to get up ust in time to join Steve to record the moths, there were not as many as Friday but still a reasonable selection, I was happy with Bordered Beauty, Orange Sallow (new for the year) and Pale Pinion, all species I don't see a lot. although might do if i got up earlier more often!!

Orange Sallow

Pale Pinion

After the moths a tentative walk, on what was a gloriously fresh bright morning had to be done, one of the first birds heard was a GREY WAGTAIL after going all year without one 2 in 3 visits was very welcome. The first of around 6 CHIFFCHAFFS was calling in the car park and both GREYLAG and CANADA GEESE could be heard as they stretched their wings around the grounds. Several large gulls were flying north in varying  numbers probably 50 or so passed by in my visit of a couple of hours mainly HERRING with the odd LESSER BLACK BACKED for company. REED BUNTINGS and YELLOWHAMMERS mingled with CHAFFINCHES in the hedgerows, with numbers of the latter definitely building at the moment. One feature of the morning were a few JAYS seen flying over high mainly heading south in ones and twos, I counted 8. A scan of the hay bales produced what I was looking for my first WHEATEAR (100) of the year, it was closely followed by another and then a STONECHAT (101) joined them eventually all on the same bale! I gradually made my way back to the top of the field and looked across the valley for a short time, a SKYLARK called as did a single BLACKCAP, the last bit of action was a GREY HERON overhead, no raptors today but a very pleasant visit.


Stonechat getting the cold shoulder!!

Chiffchaff in song

Morning Squirrel

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A quick visit

I went for a quick look at the patch this morning, managing a look at the car park and the vegetable garden. Immediately noticeable was the sound of MEADOW PIPITS sporadically calling as singles and small flocks made their way overhead, half a dozen BULLFINCH were in the car park as were 2 BLACKCAPS and a couple of CHIFFCHAFF. Walking towards the veg garden a NUTHATCH and several GOLDFINCH were by the cottages a few HOUSE MARTINS drifted over.



 A new bird for the year in the shape of a GREY WAGTAIL (99) flew south and was seen flying back north about ten minutes later. Amazing, that up until a couple of years ago they bred here and could be seen easily all year round. There were plenty of YELLOWHAMMERS and CHAFFINCHES in the mature hedge where the piglets are and a GREEN WOODPECKER struck a pose briefly as I reached the bottom of the veg garden.
Green Woodpecker
Last week my work colleague told me about something dead on the side of the road, not a pleasant subject I know! but it was near the castle and she thought it might be a deer or maybe Wild Boar, talking to Pete the warden at the weekend, it turns out it was a large male Wild Boar, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled on my morning walks in the future!
On the moth front Steve has recorded our 436th species of Macro at the castle in the last week in the shape of a PALE EGGAR, hopefully I'll join him later this week.

Both pics taken from the house last weekend

Friday, 14 September 2012


Unfortunately I have had to cancel tomorrows Bird walk at the castle. Thankfully the National Trust have managed to contact everybody as far as I am aware, so, many apologies for letting people down, hopefully I will be mobile enough for the next one in October.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

More time on the patch - 7th Sept.

After reading Warrens account of his local patch sightings a couple of days ago, it re-inspired me to go looking a bit harder around my patch, a bad back has been preventing long walks recently but I set out determined to get in a decent amount of time in the field.
Opening the car door I was greeted with the call of a CROSSBILL heading north west, certainly a good start. The car park held 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS a couple of WILLOW WARBLERS and a few CHIFFCHAFFS also present here were NUTHATCH and BULLFINCH. West of the car park is the newly planted orchard with a good mature hedge along the southern side here a LESSER WHITETHROAT tacked' a few times before coming into view. A YELLOW WAGTAIL called twice before I picked it up flying south then just a minute or so later a TREE PIPIT buzzed it's call as it flew north, in 35 minutes I had notched up 32 species with a couple of unexpected birds already. As I reached the moat round the gardens a KINGFISHER called, this turned out to be 2 Kingfishers that did a couple of fly-pasts before disappearing towards the lake. Heading into the fields YELLOWHAMMERS were only knocked into second place in abundance by the 30+ HOUSE SPARROWS sharing the hedgerows, a scan of the fence posts picked up a 'chat' of some description in the distance, WHINCHAT was added and I thought maybe 60 species for the day was possible. By 10am I had 52 species, I headed home to find get some refreshment and then headed back out with Bec, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT and TREECREEPER took the total to 55 when lunch and a good deal of stretching was required before I ventured out again.
From 1.15 to 2.30pm I took a seat and set it so I could look across my favourite view, the farmer was combining the Barley and it was a very warm afternoon my return for this stint was 5 or more COMMON BUZZARDS, another SPARROWHAWK and a HOBBY number 56. I finally decided to carry on walking around some of the hedges I had missed in the morning, a LITTLE OWL perched on a fence post in the bright the sunlight in the field which holds the National Trust Saddlebacks fresh with new litter of piglets. I gave up about 4.30pm on 57 species, there was definitely more to see, I failed to find a Collared Dove, the Sedge and Garden Warblers of previous days had gone as had the Common Whitethroats, so 60 is certainly possible and maybe I'll have another go sometime, hopefully when I'm fully fit.
Only a couple of pics today, which were a struggle to get!
Distant Whinchat

Small Tortoiseshell, I saw many as I grew up then they seemed to disappear, it's nice to see them back.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Recent sightings..

Visits have been sporadic lately and I can't see much of a change in the near future but there are still a few bits to report. After a short break in Florence my first short walk on the 1st September produced the first WHINCHAT (95) of the year and the first YELLOW WAGTAIL (96), other highlights were sparse but a KINGFISHER called several times as it whizzed downstream. There were a few Dragonflies around but not the hoped for Emerald Damselfly that the warden had reported, I enjoyed checking the Darters out and managed a couple of shots.
Common Darter

Ruddy Darter (note the narrow 'waist')

The morning of the 4th September was bright, a few SWALLOWS, maybe 15 were high over the car park, in the trees and bushes here were LESSER WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, WILLOW WARBLER, CHIFFCHAFF and a couple of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS. The walk continued to turn up warblers and GARDEN WARBLER was next followed by a COMMON WHITETHROAT, then the long awaited SEDGE WARBLER (97), which posed in the early morning light. YELLOWHAMMERS are still around in good numbers maybe 10-15 is a conservative estimate, REED BUNTINGS were less well represented with around 5 birds. The KINGFISHER was again heard and 20 HOUSE MARTINS flew south.
Young Spotted Flycatcher

Sedge Warbler

 At home later a period of about 5 minutes around 1.30pm produced 3 HOBBIES, 1 SPARROWHAWK a HONEY BUZZARD and a COMMON BUZZARD!! While during the afternoon 8 species of butterfly visited the garden, probably the highlight being a single BRIMSTONE, the first of a second brood.
Out again this morning, which was a nice bonus and another addition to the year was a single SAND MARTIN (98) that flew over high with a couple of SWALLOWS, overall the last couple of days have been quite productive! Steve is still recording the moths I joined him this morning where the highlights were a FROSTED ORANGE, new for the year and a nice BORDERED BEAUTY, there were also at least 79 SETACEOUS HEBREW CHARACTERS today.
Speckled Wood

Weird effect of a Rainbow, never noticed this sort of thing before?