17th October

The weather has at last turned from the settle calm of our Indian Summer to something more autumnal. With it at last we're starting to get some changes on the bird front as well with some definite autumnal movement and changes in behaviour Indeed the first Redwings are starting to be reported in the county though personally I've yet to see any. I have though noticed some movement in Blackbirds with quite a few more suddenly appearing in and around my garden as well as several flocks flying overhead. Over the last few days I've been hearing Skylarks calling as they pass over and a local Jay has been commuting backwards and forwards over my garden which I've not been seeing recently. The feeding tit flocks have become more noticeable and numerous and it's always exciting to stand and watch as these extended groups pass by. With with luck, alongside the Long-tailed, Greats and Blue Tits quite a few hangers-on can be seen such as Treecreepers, Goldcrests and the occasional Chiffchaff.

Up at the Gullet, Adrian Gray recently reported the following:

"Popped in this afternoon. The water is very low - as low as I've ever seen it - but I think that means that stuff that normaly skulks in the trees at the edge of the back half can't do so, and are in the open water. There's more Teal than I've ever seen there - at least a dozen in each half of the lake - mostly males, I think, but hard to tell in gloomy light and with them still looking quite scruffy. There's also at least eight male Shoveller though I could only see one female  - unusual as they seem quite uxorious. Plenty of the usual Black-headed Gulls, Coot, Mallard and Moorhen, plus a Heron in either half, and two cygnets still with their parents."

On the insect front of course there's not so much to report now though I did spot a single large Dragonfly flying along the treeline on the Meadow side of the Castle Mill Stream. I couldn't ID it properly as I didn't see it for very long but it didn't look like a Migrant Hawker and may have been an Emperor.

A few weeks back I found this Hornet, downed by some very cold winds and looking rather sorry for itself

The recent rain has transformed the Meadow with a large flock of Linnets (getting on for 200), plenty of Pied Wagtails as well as quite a few Meadow Pipits now. We've also got a couple of small pools in the usual locations and indeed had some loafing Black-headed Gulls, 8 Lapwings and a single Teal. It's great to have some water back though unless we get some prolonged rain I expect that we'll lose these patches again. Still at least it's a promise of better things to come in the weeks ahead should we get some more rain.

Lapwings, Black-headed Gulls and a Teal