|Cetti's Warbler (c) Bark|
This weekend produced two days that were just about as fine, bright and sparkling as early autumn days go. The mist lifted rapidly on Saturday and just a little more reluctantly on Sunday. Colours glowed from the hedgerows and birds fed actively in the reedbeds and the bushes.
There is a lot of seeding willowherb beside the path to the first screen and it was there that I found my first Redpolls of the winter. There were ten or so of them tearing into the seed heads as white down drifted off on the light breeze. There were also a group of Goldfinches in the same area but they were concentrating exclusively on the abundant thistle heads. Two Siskins flew over and another two or three were also seen on Sunday morning on bushes out to the right of the first screen. In the sunshine there were still warblers to be seen gleaning insects from the bushes, principally Chiffchaffs but it was also possible to pick out Lesser Whitethroats, a few Reed Warblers, one Sedgie and a Garden Warbler.
In the Roman
Road Blackcaps were seen but it is impossible to know whether they were birds
returning for the winter or summer visitors that are yet to leave. Cetti’s
Warblers have bounced back very strongly having been wiped out on the moor for
nearly two years after two severe winters. There were two birds in bushes around
and behind the first screen on Sunday and another two birds reported at the same
time up towards the second screen in the reedbed. There was also another bird
calling midway along the bridle way near the wooden bench. Lets hope that this
winter allows them to continue to thrive.
|Lifting mist and Redpoll (c) Bark|
|Gleaning warblers (c) Bark|
|Lapwings (c) JR and Snipe (c) Bark|
Out on the Southern Lagoon the muddy area in front continues to grow, but very slowly. There were a flock of about twenty Lapwings there on both days and over the next few weeks their numbers will start to rise dramatically. Up to thirty Snipe are also around on the margins of the Lagoon, from time to time flying round and round in small flocks without any clear threat or reason. A single Dunlin was picking its way between the Snipe and the Lapwings feeding busily. While we were watching a party of eight Wigeon flew in and joined the handful that were already out at the back of the water.
There was a fine male Stonechat in July’s Meadow on Sunday morning quite a pale coloured individual, since then another three have been reported, both by Lower Farm and out at the Pill.
Sparrowhawks have been very noticeable both male
and a large female. Perhaps they have been attracted by the increasing numbers
of starlings that are roosting in the reedbed and feeding in the fields. A Barn
Owl was seen on Sunday morning perched on the gate to the rifle range. The first
Short Eared Owl of the winter was seen being hassled by crows on Thursday
afternoon and another or indeed the same one was seen hunting over the MOD on
Sunday afternoon. On Sunday morning at least three Kestrels probably a family
party were hunting in the bright sunshine calling frequently and chasing each
other around they came very close and looked stunning.
|Corvid Sprawk interaction (c) JR|
|Kestrel (c) JR|
During the next couple of weeks Fieldfares and Redwings will come in to take advantage of the abundance in the hedgerows, perhaps we will benefit from the irruption of Bearded Tits that happens about now or perhaps it will be a good winter for Bramblings. Be certain we will be out there looking.
|Red Moon hand- held long exposure (c) Bark|