Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Whinchat (Mike Wallen)

(increasing SW winds through the day with temperatures still high; a few thunder claps but little rain but heavy cloud predominating)

(1030-1318 hours)

Hearing of Mike Wallen's Rowsham flyover Tree Pipit flock (3 birds), I returned to the hills in the hope of connecting with one. One had flown over as close as Totternhoe Knolls (Bedfordshire), with an almost daily flurry of occurrences from Pegsdon Hills. I ended up spending just under three hours 'viz-migging' and yes, you guessed it, no Tree Pipits came my way. In fact, migration was next to non-existent, with just a few hirundines passing south.

The undoubted highlight was the 'chat flock' with 4 WHINCHATS showing well, lined up alongside each other on the fenceline either side of the sheep pens, along with 2 juvenile NORTHERN WHEATEARS.

I did the entire walk from Gallows Hill through to Aldbury Knolls with scant rewards.

A charm of 8 Goldfinches had gathered, with 14 Meadow Pipits on the North Slope and 2 Common Chiffchaffs in Top Scrub.

Southbound movement involved 7 Barn Swallows and a single SAND MARTIN.

Butterflies were still in good numbers with 25+ PAINTED LADIES, 18 Speckled Wood, 2 RED ADMIRAL and at least 150+ Small Heath

(1330-1510 hours)

Very little new activity - the highlight being the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER flock to the west of the reservoir

Great Crested Grebe (20)
LITTLE EGRETS (all 7 birds again present)
Mute Swans (44)
Gadwall (9)
Common Teal (38)
Shoveler (56+)
Coot (539)

HOBBY (adult carrying prey over fields behind the hide)

Lapwing (416)
COMMON GREENSHANK (6 birds present, all apparent juveniles and highly mobile and vocal)
Common Snipe (single still present)

COMMON KINGFISHER (excellent views of a dark billed male perched)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Western Reed Warbler (2)
WILLOW WARBLER (2 juveniles)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (a mobile flock of at least 8 birds present for at least their third day in the hedgerows and gardens - especially that of the thatched cottage - to the west of the reservoir accessed from the track across the field from where the hide access trail begins)

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