1st September

With the present "Indian Summer" weather you really feel that nature is holding its breath ready for the tubble down into unsettled weather and colder days ahead. Of course in the birding world we are already well into autumn.

After the quiet summer doldrums (at least on the bird front) August saw a noticeable increase in bird activity with warblers starting to work their way south through Burgess Field. The highlight of the month was a lovely female type Redstart which I found in the middle of the month just before I went away on holiday for a couple of weeks. Imagine my surprise when on my return at the end of the month it was still there in exactly the same place. Of course birds on the return passage can often linger somewhere that they find to their liking: they're not being driven by an urge to find territory and mate.

The long staying Redstart

Yellow Wagtails are once again back on the Meadow. Indeed this time of year is the best for seeing this colourful wagtail as they work their way around the cattle herd picking off flies that are disturbed by the cattle's feet. It's always worth scrutinising the birds carefully for the continental Blue-headed subspecies.

We're getting towards the end of  the Odonata season but Nicola Devine has be busy with her camera checking out the Trap Grounds on a regular basis. With Willow Emerald now starting to establish itself in the county I'm hoping that we'll soon have one of these rapid colonists in the Trap Grounds where there are plenty of overhanging Willows for them to use for their egg laying.

Common Darter courtesy of Nicola Devine

Despite the lack of flood waters we did have a single wader report recently when Matthew Lloyd found a Common Sandpiper working its way along the river shoreline. Having said that, the recent storms have left a couple of boggy patches on the Meadow: too small to be called "floods" but if we can get more rain then they might start to grow and attract some birds to them.Until then it's going to be passage passerines that will hold the main interest. I'm personally on the hunt for Spotted Flycatchers and Whinchat though more Redstarts and perhaps even a Tree Pipit are certainly on the cards. Roll on autumn!

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