Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday September 21

After a week of murk and easterlies when I was unable to go birding, my first available day dawned clear with a very light northerly breeze.

Other than a report of a Crane flying west over Stratford on Thursday afternoon, I have not heard of anything which could potentially have arrived during the week. Needless to say there was no sign of a Crane, and no hint of the exciting rarities dripping from every branch on the east coast.

It's a funny time of year here, a sort of in-between time. Most of the summer visitors have gone, but none of the winter visitors have arrived.

What you do get is stacks of Meadow Pipits, and sure enough there was hardly a time when their calls were not reaching my ears. I started off logging them, but so many are invisible, high in the blue sky, that my eventual count of 74 must represent the tip of the iceberg.

Meadow Pipit
Some of them landed, and the ridge field was a good place to see them. Another couple of birds which I associate with late September are Chiffchaff and Blackcaps. The former are particularly prevalent, and I had logged nine Chiffs and four Blackcaps by the end of the morning.

Other signs of summer were 27 Swallows, two House Martins (I'd had 52 over our house yesterday), and three Whinchats.

I could only find one Stonechat today, the Yellow-crowned Weaver was still present, and four Mute Swans have turned up on the pool. Scanning through the rafts of released Mallards there I came across a couple of newly arrived ducks. A drake Gadwall, the first since the female in spring, and a female Shoveler.

While the Gadwall remained on the pool, the Shoveler relocated to the flash. There it joined 41 Teal, 11 Lapwings, three Green Sandpipers, 14 Snipe, and three Wigeon.

By late morning the sunshine was encouraging plenty of insects to enjoy their last few days. These included a Comma, several Speckled Woods, a Southern Hawker, and lots of egg-laying Common Darters.

So a day of bits and bobs, but no heart-stopping moments.

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