MORNING WAL;KS INTO YEO MVALLEY
WEATHER: two days of very still and calm weather, with lovely sunrises and blue sky to start. Chilly on both mornings.
The sunshine and still mornings have encouraged birds to burst into song, a dozen Robins have been singing on my patch and at least 3 Chiffchaffs. I have also heard Wren and some sub-songs from Blackcaps.
sunrise taken from one of the southern meadows today
If I named the top 20 most common bird sightings during the last month on my patch it would be these:
Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Great Spotted & Green Woodpeckers, House Martin, Swallow, Rook, Blackcap, Herring Gull, Common Buzzard, Goldfinch, House Sparrow and Common Starling.
Blue Tit - you are guaranteed to see one of these on my patch
I have seen all of those over the last two days with the addition of Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Grey Heron, Long-tailed Tit, Raven, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Linnet, Coal Tit, Magpie, Jay, Sand Martin, Common Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Feral Pigeon and I have also heard Nuthatch, Bullfinch and Goldcrest without seeing them.
The Jackdaw - I just love these cheeky blighters with their white eyes
These lists just show how good the birding can be just walking a couple of miles in the British countryside.
For the past two mornings I have walked simialr routes, taking the track along the stream to the south and walking around two large meadows that rise up towards Clifton Maybank. I have concentrated my birding efforts on the berry-wielding bushes, there is such an abundance of fruit this year. I have watched Blackbirds, Robins and Blackcaps taking blackberries and elderberries in the hope of catching a glimpse of Garden Warbler or even a flycatcher or two.
Common Chiffchaff taken yesterday
The warm morning sunshine has certainly delivered some excellent conditions for birding but perhaps not for migrant birds to drop in for shelter and rest. Vast numbers of Swallows and House Martins flew past yesterday and very few were seen today.
this is probably a juvenile male Blackcap - you can see the dark plumage coming through on his head
On both days I ended up walking northward into the valley proper and as it was much quieter today I spent more time looking at insects than birds. I watched Field Digger Wasps hunting flies on the dry track, these solitary wasps sting a fly and carry it off to its burrow where it lays an egg on the body of the fly and later the wasp-grub emerges to a full larder, how nice, rotting fly for breakfast!
I saw this Field Digger Wasp catch a Green Bottle Fly but was too slow to catch it on film.
to see the Digger Wasp in action, click this Youtube link here: http://youtu.be/u_9VyOLqga4