It's early August, for me the official start of 'vismig' season, and it really didn't take much effort to drag myself from the warm confines of my bed to the cold, breezy paddocks on the patch.
Large numbers of Hirundines had started to gather in the insect rich aerospace above the open fields and paddocks, totaling around 300 birds. These were slowly dispersing south, and a single Swift barreled through.
My first Meadow Pipit of the autumn flew over calling as I picked up a 'hawk' powering low south over the paddocks along the river valley. My bins went up, and that hawk transformed into a juvenile Cuckoo as it continued to fly very quickly across the fields. Following on from a singing male back in the spring, I couldn't help but wonder if it may have been locally bred?
The bird however had no inclination to land, and was watched flying a considerable distance to the south before flying across a line of trees and out of sight!
I did say it was the 'start' of vismig season didn't I, so no doubt it wouldn't reap huge numbers and variety of birds!
However, what the air lacked was certainly made up for on the ground, and a decent number of migrant passerines were dotted around the hedgerows. 2 Garden Warbler, 9 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler and 10 Chiffchaff were not at all a bad haul.
A lone elderberry bush stands in the middle of the paddocks, and it was nice to see a male Blackcap and a female Whitethroat feeding from it, and it was while watching this nice duo a flash of red caught my eye as a mouse brown female REDSTART flicked out onto the edge of the bush!
Redstart for a good number of years has been a very rare/ overlooked bird on the patch so it was great to finally see another. Needless to say, to see 3 migrant passerines feeding together in a small lone bush only reminds me why I do love Bird migration, and truly anything can turn up anywhere!
The evening was spent at my usual Saturday evening location of Upton Warren, and again, the best bird took until the last shreds of light to show up, but when it did a stunning adult Mediterranean Gull dropped in among the roosting BHG, of which numbers had built up to around 1200.
Adult Med Gulls aren't the most common of ages at Upton Warren and therefore I was quite happy to have pick out this stunning Gull. Just check out those white primarys!
The bird walked around with an obvious limp, but it was more preoccupied with roosting than anything else. It's very delicate proportions, and rather 'thin' primarys indicated that the bird was probably a female.
The flashes also held a total of 16 Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper and 7 migrant Snipe.