With the lovely settled "Indian Summer" weather that we've been having this week, the birding has been rather poor as expected. The sunny conditions have been drying out the floods which are looking rather depleted now and in sore need of a top up. Hopefully (from a bird point of view) some more traditional autumn weather will be along shortly. Our plethora of wonderful waders from last month is now a distant memory and we're left scratching around for anything that we can find: there have been 4 RINGED PLOVER and up to 3 DUNLIN on the floods but that's basically been it. Lapwing and golden plover numbers are steadily growing with over 20 of the latter now present, often hunkered down in some of the cattle hoof prints so only their heads are showing. YELLOW WAGTAILS are now starting to appear in increasing numbers in amongst the cattle with at least 4 counted today.
In my garden over the last few days I've noticed quite a few migrant Silver-Y moths nectaring on the buddleia at dusk. By day the same plant is attracting Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells and earlier in the week there was a Holly Blue in the garden as well.
Ovipositing Brown Hawker on the Castle Mill Stream
I went for a run around the patch today to check out the areas other than the floods. The Trap Grounds pond held lots of dragonflies: one Brown Hawker and lots of Common/Ruddy Darters. Burgess Field was almost completely birdless and the only butterflies I saw was a single Small Heath and a couple or Red Admirals. The Castle Mill stream was more interesting with a pair of Brown Hawkers (the female was ovipositing - see photo above) and one or two Migrant Hawkers. The highlight of the trip though was finding a splendid SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (a patch year tick) in the bushes by the stream towards the car park. These increasingly scarce birds don't ever linger on the patch and it's just a matter of luck in coming across one on the spring or autumn passage. Now if only I could find a Redstart on the patch!
Record shot of the Spotted Flycatcher (I only had my P&S camera with me)