It was a chilly six degrees when I arrived on the patch this morning, the brisk westerly wind made it feel colder despite the sunshine. A flock of about 70 Pink-footed Geese arrived on the Budge fields, freshly arrived from their Arctic breeding rounds to spend the winter here. My first of the winter on the patch - we heard some last night nearer home when we were ringing a late brood of Barn Owls.
For me the sound of Pink-footed Geese coming ans going over the patch as they fly from roosts to feeding areas is the sound of winter. It just feels a bit early! (this is my earliest autumn County record by six days).
The cold start meant that birds were making the most of the sunny side of the bushes to warm up and catch insects. Plenty of Chiffchaffs still, I counted 21 and at least six of them were singing - young males trying to sort their chiffs and their chaffs I fancy.
|Smart Chiffchaff among the Whitebeam berries|
|More of a scruffy moulting bird|
A single Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat also being noteworthy. In the big Elderberry bush, the berries are just ripening and it had attracted three Blackcaps and a Song Thrush. I hope they leave some for the Barred Warbler!
|Same bird - different perch|
|and fly-catching as Flycathcers do|
Overhead there was a moderate passage of Meadow Pipits and two flocks of Siskin - 30 and nine. A Grey Wagtail went north - my second of the Autumn. Still no Collared Dove though!
Hirrundine passage was light with just a handful of Sand and House Martins and few Swallows.
In the 'Front Field' at Druridge Farm there are some enormous Giant Puffballs - they grow here every year and 34 Pheasants!