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Friday, 9 August 2013

Autumn approaching...

The inception of the autumn patch birding season has meant that my efforts at the farm and woods have begun to return some kind of profit, not much but enough to keep me content in the thought that there's potentially much interest in the coming days and weeks. Passerines have started to move through, with Willow Warblers being a classic harbinger of the annual return movement. Small numbers of these migrants have been dropping in and I'm sure that some of the other warblers are not local birds either. Black-headed Gulls first started appearing about three weeks ago and are now daily, though I'm still waiting for the Meadow Pipits, which normally first squeek overhead in late July.

Slangs

A jaunt up and down Slangs this morning was rewarded with a smart and quite vocal Lesser Whitethroat, though, as usual, it was too elusive for a photograph. This is a scarce bird at the patch, with only around seven individuals being found each year. Slangs is somewhere I'll be checking more often now that things are slowly beginning to happen. For those unfamiliar with the farm, it is a narrow bridleway at the bottom of a small valley surrounded on either side by some of the only mature and relatively untamed hedgerows at Canons; it provides a tempting pitstop for migrant passerines and is particularly reliable for Common Redstarts at the times when they are moving through.

One of the young Common Buzzards

The incessant calling of the recently fledged Common Buzzards is hard to escape at the moment. Young from one, possibly two, breeding pairs on the patch have been enjoying feeding and sunbathing in the cut hay meadows, while constantly keeping in touch with their siblings and their parents. The first juvenile Pied Wagtail of the year was on the Legal & General playing field with four adults this morning, numbers will start building up there soon and the odd juvenile Yellow Wagtail can be expected to join the feeding gatherings over the next couple of months.

The first juvenile Pied Wagtail of the year
Jay at the Rambler's Rest on Wednesday; the first actual photographic opportunity I think I've ever had for the species at CFBW
Southern Hawker on Wednesday at Piddly Pond, a recent low-level colonist since the pond's reconstruction

I'm just eagerly awaiting the first few big pushes of autumn movement, I'm away for a week from tomorrow so there's no doubt that by the time I return things will be a bit further on and there might a couple of goodies to be found.