Friday 16th September

There is a distinctive autumnal feel to the Meadow though only in terms of the wild life. The weather certainly this week has been most unseasonally hot and humid though it now seems that we're back to more usual fare.

There has actually been some bird news to report. At this time of the year and without any floods the main points of interest are going to be migrant passerines working their way southwards. It's always worth therefore scouring the many hedgerows in the area though it can often be hard work for little reward. On the 11th Luca and Tom Pizzari reported a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER and a REDSTART in the fields past the Perch, a great double-find in an area that I don't normally check out though I know that migrants often follow the river south so it makes sense. As a bonus they also reported a couple of HOBBIES as well. On the 8th of the month Dave Gandy had a TREE PIPIT in flight heading south and calling over the main flood area. It's great to get this species on the year list as this is the one harder-to-get passage migrant passerine that we still need. To round things off Mary MacDougall found a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in Burgess Field last weekend. 

Apart from these goodies, the main birds at present are the large numbers of YELLOW WAGTAILS (up to 25 or more) in amongst the cattle. There have also been large numbers of House Martins gathering in big pre-migration flocks and hawking for flies over the dried up flood area.

On the insect front, things are naturally winding down now there there are good numbers of Migrant Hawkers (I counted 6) along the Castle Mill Stream along with a Brown Hawker and the odd Ruddy and Common Darter.

Migrant Hawker
I've not been doing much mothing of late though I did manage my first Sallow of the autumn. These species are coloured to mimic autumn leaves and are traditionally a harbinger of the changing season in the mothing world.

Centre-barred Sallow

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