Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sunday October 5

Following the passage of a cold front overnight, the morning was bright and sunny with hardly any wind. The autumn is still holding its breath, and there was little obvious sign of change since last week.

The only birds of note around Netherstead were wagtails, the few Pieds being joined by at least two Grey Wagtails.

Grey Wagtail
Dave arrived and we set off. There was one period of about 15 minutes when we thought the day might prove special. Amongst the Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flying above the ridge field I spotted a Green Sandpiper flying towards us, as he searched for it Dave picked out a single Swallow heading south, and as I looked for that I got onto four Golden Plovers going east. I fumbled for my camera and missed the fact there were actually six. I clicked at sky and discovered I had got the tiny image of three of the Plovers heading off.

97. Golden Plovers
Not my finest effort, but a photo-tick I may not replicate by the end of the year. They were a patch year-tick for Dave. This little moment of optimism continued as thrushes flew from the hedgerows. We counted six Song Thrushes and eight Blackbirds (none of which had the decency to go "chack"). Too early for Redwings and not the ever-hoped-for Ring Ouzel, but we decided it was a sign.

There was an ominous lack of birds at the flashes, just two Teal. The inference was that the shooting season may have started. Dave suggested we check out the south end, and although this confirmed our impression that there will be no big Linnet flock this year, we did count 120 Meadow Pipits in the fields, a patch record for me, and also found two new male Stonechats.

How did we know they were new? Well the one at Netherstead looked like this.

While the one at the south end looked like this:

If you haven't figured it out yet, Netherstead Stonechat has no tail. Strictly speaking the south end bird could be one from earlier in the autumn, but I reckon it is part of a turn over of Stonechat passing through.

Lets hope something new turns up next week.

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