Another patch visit, and another Mandarin count. I wanted to get out fairly early, and i did, so i was out scouring those hedges and tree's looking for some migrants. The first bird i came across was while standing adjacent to the old Sand Martin colony on the riverbank (now sadly unused) and i saw the distinctive flight shape of a Falcon approaching from the north. With its barrel chested-ness and heavy flight it was obvious a PEREGRINE was flying towards me, easily the rarest of the 'common' Falcons here on patch. Soon after i was treated to great views of this 1st summer male bird as it flew low over my head, across the river, dropping down low over the fields opposite, to suddenly rise up over the hedge to spook a flock of Woodpigeon before giving a pot-shot, and to be honest, half soaked lazy attempt at that, towards one of the Woodpigeons. Soon after the bird was lost to view, but a nice addition to the list.
Just a little further upriver, adjacent to the riverside field infact, and, for the 2nd time in 8 days, i heard a familiar 'glipping' sound above me, Looking up to see a party of 3 CROSSBILL flying along the river SW. I wont repeat from what i said a couple of posts ago, but this is still a very decent patch bird with very few records!
Moving onto Blackstone, i quickly found a variety of good birds, a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was seen briefly making its way through the dense tree's, the first patch record this year! And it was while trying to relocate the Woodpecker i heard the distinctive song and 'Pitchoo' call of MARSH TIT'S, a welcomed sighting as i had not seen any at this location since the spring!
The expected flock of Mandarins had dropped significantly, with now only 7 birds remaining, 4 of which were drakes. The party of young that were first hatched have now disbanded and are now practically independent.
The final highlight of the day was the confirmation that a pair of Lapwings had successfully raised 2 chicks at a site on patch! As far as i know, the first confirmed breeding for a few years, despite a semi-regular presence during the summer in previous years. The two adults and 2 fledged youngsters sitting together on an area of bare ground.
In the garden, both male and female Siskin have been present all summer, so it was fully expected when 3 newly fledged juveniles visited the feeders for around a month, however, more recently we have been visited by something larger...
A family party of Great-Spots!
But one of the most unexpected sights was to happen on the 3/08/13, when a WHITE-LETTER HAIRSTREAK visited the garden briefly, a butterfly lifer!