It's a testimony to the lack of much in the way of sightings that what should have been a more active month is reduced to an end of month summary. We did have some embryonic flood waters form during the wetter period at the start of September but now we are back to unseasonably warm, dry conditions and they have gone again. This has left us scratching around for much to report at all. Sad times!
Starting with wild fowl, as you would expect with the lack of flood waters there is precious little to report. The flock of 80 or so Barnacle Geese are back grazing on the Meadow and we did briefly attract the first Teal and Wigeon on the flood waters before they disappeared. The first red-head Goosander of the autumn has been seen on the river. On Wolvercote Lake, the first couple of Tufted Duck have appeared there as well as a handful of Teal, one Wigeon and one Shoveler.
Normally at this time of year you can at least rely on passerine passage in Burgess Field for some points of interest though we've only managed one Redstart record this month and no Spotted Flycatchers. To be honest, I'm not sure how well watched Burgess Field has been this last month - I know that I haven't been that often myself. Sadly, Yellow Wagtails were noticable by there absence this year with very few reported all month on the Meadow.
We did have a brief Whinchat on the Meadow one morning and up to 5 of this species were seen north of King's Lock along the river. There were a couple of Stonechat pairs in the same area along with at least four Cetti's Warbler males on territory along the river.
On a brighter note, Cattle Egrets are back in the Wytham area with up to 15 loitering along the approach road to the field station. Five of them did appear on Wolvercote common one morning in amongst the cattle there.
|One of the five Cattle Egrets that were on Wolvercote Common one morning|
The first of the winter passerines are now starting to be seen or at least heard with Siskin and Redpoll flying over. A couple of Redpoll were even caught in the ringing nets in Burgess Field.
|A Lesser Redpoll in the hand courtesy of Thomas Miller|
The unseasonaly warm weather has been great for insects with Willow Emerald at last being recorded in the Trap Grounds and along the Castle Mill Stream. Migrant Hawkers are to be found buzzing around the various nooks and crannies of the patch and there are still plenty of Common Darters around. The last week or so there have been loads of Red Admirals about, encouraged by the bright sunshine and calm conditions.
|Trap Grounds Willow Emerald|
Looking ahead, unless we get a period of heavy rainfall we are going to continue to be scratching around for things to report this month. Hopefully we might at least get some more Redstart and Spotted Flycatchers in Burgess Field. Dare we hope for another Yellow-browed Warbler on the patch this year? It's not impossible!