Lade - mild, cloudy, sw 4 - We seem to have hit the birding doldrums down here with weather fronts sweeping in off the Atlantic and blocking any hope of an arrival of drift migrants from the east. Today I decided to spend some time hammering away at the local patch on shanks pony, despite the unpromising blustery, but humid, weather conditions. The result was that after three visits totalling six hours a grand total of 65 species of birds was recorded.
An early overhead trickle of finches included several parties of Redpolls and Siskins, while at least 20 House Martins and 10 Swallows moved through and two Jays flew in off the bay. A mixed passerine flock of at least 60 birds in the willow swamp kept me busy for over an hour, comprising mostly Chiffchaffs, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, plus 10 Goldcrests, two Reed Buntings, two Blackcaps, a few Chaffinches and a lone Firecrest, always a bonus. Also around the willows and ponds, two Cetti`s Warblers, squealing Water Rails, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 12 Little and one Great White Egret. Plenty of Migrant Hawkers and Ruddy Darters were active in the shelter of the ponds.
On the lakes an influx of 150 Mallards was a notable count, while two Pintails were the first of the autumn. The usual large numbers of grebes and Shovelers were hugging the far side of south lake. The desert to the south delivered several Stonechats and a Wheatear, although Mockmill was largely deserted due to the brisk wind. Scanning across towards the airport resulted in Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Lapwing, Stock Dove and Curlew being added to the day list.
The garden moth trap attracted 11 species of macros, but nothing unusual.
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