Sunday 8th September

Well, I'm back from my holidays (France if you're interested - you can read up on it here). The Meadow is still as dry as a bone of course which doesn't leave much scope for variety. I've visited a few times over the last couple of weeks and the main interest is still on the Meadow where there are now YELLOW WAGTAILS to be seen regularly in amongst the Cattle. They like it here in the autumn and often seem to linger for a while - a week ago I counted about 20 of them. Now that we're well and truly into Autumn on the birding front we should be expecting some migrants to be passing through and indeed last Saturday I found a lovely WHEATEAR feeding out on the dried up flood area (where the North Channel would be). This species seems to like the dried floods and when they turn up it's often in this area. The Hirundines are gathering in large flocks ready for the push southwards - there must have been at least 100 about last weekend hawking low over the grass. There is a small flock of Black-headed Gulls that are loafing out on the grass though I imagine that there's no proper roost to speak of.

With a bit of fieldcraft I was able to get quite close to the Wheatear

In Burgess Field the usual warblers are about though rather skulky. This area does look great for a Wryneck or a Shrike and since we've had two of the former species in the county in the last week or so it's worth looking out for one. Along the Castle Mill Stream I've seen a Kingfisher a few times and Roly Pitts reported one as well. Roly also managed to find a COMMON REDSTART along the Thames North of the Perch recently (with a possible second bird) - a great find and until this year a very hard species to see on the Patch though we were rather spoilt in the spring by several that stayed a long time in Burgess Field. Roly also reported a GREY WAGTAIL by the Trout Inn - I've hardly seen this species at all this year though I imagine sightings are commoner up in Wolvercote. One migrants species that we've yet to see is Spotted Flycatcher - they are often seen in the hedgerows working their way southwards on the the Meadow.

The Butterflies in Burgess Field have long gone though in the Trap Grounds the wild marjoram is still attracting a few. I'm also getting quite a few on my garden Buddleia enjoying the sunshine. On the moth front both Steve Goddard in Wolvercote and myself are busy trapping away with Steve closing in on an impressive year list of 400 whilst I'm trying to get close to 250. We are now very much into late summer/early autumn moths with Yellow Underwings dominating the trap and I had my first Sallow (very much an autumn species) as well as a Red Underwing buzzing around my window last night.

Centre-barred Sallow - very much an autumn moth

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