As I waited for Dave to arrive there was a sudden commotion as Rooks, Jackdaws and Woodpigeons took to the air in panic. A short scan produced a large accipiter. A big Sparrowhawk? Perhaps, but the wings looked longish and broad-based. Size is hard to judge, but as it suddenly dived into the trees in the distant wood known as The Alders, I got some perspective and felt it was larger than a Woodpigeon or a Rook. The circumstances and apparent size of the bird left me suspecting it was a Goshawk, but I'm not sure I clinched the identification.
Dave arrived and we waited, but there was no second appearance. However, there was evidence of visible migration, with 15 Swallows heading south, and 37 Meadow Pipits on the telegraph wires. A male Stonechat appeared on the sturdy fence among the Meadow Pipits.
|Stonechat & Meadow Pipit|
At the west end of the bridle path a small bird flew past me and perched in the big willow. I focused on it and was for a moment perplexed. Some kind of chat? Then it shivered its tail and I realised I was looking at a female Redstart. As I shouted its name to alert Dave, the bird took off and headed out of the tree and away across the pool field.
We carefully followed the fence line, flushing about 20 Yellowhammers, and several Meadow Pipits, but no Redstart. At the flash field we counted 56 Teal, three Green Sandpipers, and 12 Snipe. Dave then spotted two Wigeon, the first of the autumn, as they flew past, and followed this up with a view of the Little Owl. I just got onto both Wigeon and Owl before they disappeared, the latter into the foliage of the oak tree it has probably been occupying all year.
As usual the walk back was quieter, but at least today felt as though the autumn migration was underway.