Thursday 18 August
SE wind; misty with poor visibility to the Northeast
A major fall of HOUSE MARTIN with a flock lingering in the Beacon area all morning, peaking at 62 individuals. Also 2 TREE PIPITS over to the southwest, just a single NORTHERN WHEATEAR lingering on the fenceline down to the sheep-pens and a 'new' COMMON REDSTART in the scrub below the car park, calling loudly. A single COMMON WHITETHROAT present for its third day by the two stiles at the bottom of the car park slope and 2 LESSER WHITETHROATS on the north side of Gallows Hill but otherwise regular fare, although a single Marsh Tit and Nuthatch were unexpected. Just singles of Yellowhammer, Bullfinch and Linnet noted, with 37 Jackdaw west, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 9 Common Starlings.
Very quiet at neighbouring PITSTONE HILL, with COMMON RAVEN, a juvenile CORN BUNTING, & Yellowhammers, a single Barn Swallow and 15 Common Starling highlighting. The family flock of 5 Meadow Pipit remain. Still lots of butterfly activity, primarily Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Common Blue.
Over at COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT, the juvenile RUFF remains for an incredible 9th day, feeding on the main marsh and best observed from the Octagon Hide. Also, the juvenile COMMON REDSHANK and COMMON SANDPIPER remain, with Common Teal now up to 9, 16 Coot, just 32 Lapwing and 2 Little Grebe. Sadly, the Tufted Duck brood is now down from 9 to 5.
At WILSTONE RESERVOIR, the water levels are beginning to drop for the first time this year, consequently attracting 3 return passage COMMON SANDPIPERS. A single Barnacle Goose remains with the Canadas on Drayton Bank, while waterfowl numbers in general are up, with the return of 22 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 27 Northern Pochard and 99 Tufted Duck. The moulting flock of Mute Swan numbers at least 37, while 11 Great Crested Grebe, 8 House Sparrows, Linnet and this nice Grey Wagtail were also encountered. Little Egrets successfully bred on the Drayton bank with 6 pairs, with 3 still around today.