Thursday, 27 October 2016

27th October

A walk along the river this morning in very gloomy conditions. Undoubted highlight was my first really good view of an English Otter. I almost missed it too, I heard a splash and assumed a fish jumping but fortunately lifted my bins and saw the Otter half out of the water. It then swam across the river and I caught up with it again when trying to photograph a Little Egret.

It was a big beast, presumably a dog otter, and rolled and tumbled in the water until it sensed me and dived deep and away.
Two Little Egrets were also on the river…

And my first Mute Swans since the spring...

The hawthorns in Migrant Alley were alive with scores of Redwings together with a handful of Goldcrests and a murmuration of around 3000 Starlings was seen swirling over Morton Flatts.

Other birds seen included Jay, Kingfisher, Golden Plover, three Buzzards, around 50 Greylags plus a Green Sandpiper in Ainderby.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

16th October

The last mothing  of the season last night. The weather was much colder than forecast and resulted in only 27 moths being caught of just eight species. But this did include a new one for the parish, Feathered Thorn…

...and 11 examples of ‘November’ moths, there was some variation in these but they are very hard to distinguish the three very similar species and John has taken them for further analysis

As we emptied the traps this morning there was a large movement of Redwings over, all generally heading South-South-East, along with small numbers of Skylarks. This is in contrast to yesterday when it was almost exclusively Fieldfares, heading high west, presumably straight in from the coast.

Yesterday I flushed my second Woodcock of the year from the Magic Garden, a Buzzard has taken up almost permanent residence there…

And there was still the odd Chiffchaff hanging on (or passing through) the Garden. More remarkably Chris Knight spotted an exceptionally late Swift over the village on Wednesday. Given all the birds arriving from the east over the last few days it’s interesting to speculate where this bird originated from…

Sunday, 9 October 2016

9th October

The first Fieldfares were back in the parish today, a flock of around 20 birds in the top fields. This is a good week earlier than last year. There definitely seemed to be birds on the move today. Good numbers of Skylarks were passing over, Meadow Pipit numbers had markedly increased..

And the first Corn Buntings for a couple of months dropped in to the top fields (along with small numbers of Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers).

Up to 30 Pied Wagtails fed in the newly ploughed fields here and three Grey Wagtails were in the marshy ground of the bottom fields…

A small group of Siskin flew over the Magic Garden and there were still two Chiffchaff singing in here. Most surprising find was this rather tame Wigeon on the tiny cattle pond in the bottom fields...

And finally, continuing my painfully slow progress on identifying insects, this striking creature which fell on my son’s head last night is a Hawthorn Shield Bug!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

8th October

The first Redwings were back in the village today just a day earlier than last year.

Yesterday evening there were around ten Chiffchaffs in the Magic Garden, all in the same small patch of willow and willowherb. They weren’t there the day before so I assume must be migrants. Surely there’s got to be a stray Yellow-browed Warbler in there somewhere after record numbers on the Yorkshire coast?!
A Jay was back in the Magic Garden, the first I’ve seen since April. I don’t think I’ve missed birds through the summer so it would be interesting to know where these wintering birds come from. Similarly there have been a couple of Nuthatches in the Garden in the last couple of days, are these local movements from elsewhere in the parish or from further afield?
Last weekend’s highlight was a fine skein of around 60 Pinkfooted Geese which came in over the village and flew due south over the Bottom Fields.

Pinkfeet are probably annual migrants over the parish but actually spotting them depends on wind direction (they often pass to the west of the parish) and, critically, being in the right place at the right time. Another new bird for the year and pushes the list up to 112, already equalling the number of species seen in 2015.