Friday, 17 October 2014

Amazing patch birding. Non stop migrants!

 August 2014 must surely go down as one of the best birding months I have ever had on patch. Despite there being no rare birds, I left each visit feeling happy with a superb variety of species, both migrants and residents, and a fair number of surprises.
Foremost what must be mentioned was the superb showing of REDSTARTS throughout the month. As regulars will know, they in previous years have been hard to come by, so I was overjoyed with a single female on the 9th, but the next couple of weeks proved to be extremely productive, and on 16th I found 2 more Redstarts, including a stonking male but then it went crazy!
17th saw a mass arrival of these stunning blue and red jewels as I found an unprecedented 5 Redstarts in various points around the Lickhill meadows section of the patch (3m, 2 fem/juv). This included 2 birds which were feeding on fence posts adjacent to one of the permissive roads that runs through the fields. Luckily I have access, and was treated to stonking views!

As well as the pair of Redstart, the same section of fenceline was often also the perch of a migrant Lesser Whitethroat, enjoying the suns rays.

The arrival of these birds coincidentally coincided with a planned week thrashing the patch and I spent nearly all of the daylight hours out thrashing the bushes and vismigging. The 18th had 4 Redstarts and the 19th 3. Both the 20th and 21st then had one each and then they were gone!
No doubt this week will end up being known as Redstart week for me in future years!
It seems crazy to think I mentioned Redstarts before a patch first, but their sustained presence was wholly unexpected, but the arrival of my first patch WHEATEAR (A female) which was present in some horse paddocks early on 21st was gratefully received non the less. However it could not be relocated later in the day. A Wheatear has been long coming, so I wasn't hugely surprised to pan onto this bird!
This was followed by a male bird on the 25th and 3 present on the last day of the month (31st). So much for a patch mega!
But wait!! I have another patch mega!
And another first for patch infact, as a LITTLE EGRET flew over south during drizzle on the 25th! No doubt the bird I had seen earlier in the month feeding on the river at Bewdley, but it was certainly very welcomed to have seen it within the patch boundaries!
Semi- regular Yellow Wagtails were also found, with birds being found on 6 dates, with a maximum of 3, but most of the records related to multiple birds. A female and a juvenile perched on a fenceline in the Meadows, and despite having a broken camera (broken screen) and not being able to see what I was photographing, I got lucky and got this one pic which showed one of the Yellow Wagtails.
2 Tree Pipits flew over, one on both the 16th and the 24th, and numbers of general vismig species, such as Pied and Grey Wagtails, and the first few Meadow Pipits of the autumn increased as the month passed.
This increase was also juxtaposed with an increase in Hirundine numbers, and triple figure counts of all 3 common species were regular! And with the large concentrations of these brought very regular interest from at least 3 HOBBY, which were present most days!

All the 'regular' warbler species were present, with the only real disappointment being a real lack of Willow Warblers, but a few sulphur yellow juveniles added a massive dose of colour! Particularly impressive though was a sustained presence of Lesser Whitethroats, with 4 present for most of the month, and often showing very nicely! Certainly one of my favourite warblers, and they never fail to give me a thrill as one flicks onto the edge of their favoured hedgerows!

Not to shabby for an area of meadows, paddocks and hedgerows tucked up in NW Worcestershire!

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