18th Jun. I visited one of my regular patch haunts today, although I have to admit I’ve not ventured that way for sometime. A weak sunlight shone through the trees onto, in the main, dry ground. The grasses and other plants had grown high and brushed against me as I made my way through them. The only bright colour came from the garden escape asters. It was so different from late spring and summer and few birds sounds could be heard and even fewer sightings of birds were made. I did manage to pick up a weak huit huit call of a Chiffchaff which was again so different from the constant calling from these birds earlier in the year. The only birds I had flying overhead were large numbers of Wood Pigeon, corvids and gulls. The rattling sound of Magpies could be heard coming from the wooded area. I wondered if the Fox was hidden in the dense undergrowth in a spot I have seem them on occasions. The only other bird species I heard were tits. Speckled Wood Butterflies flew in the sunbeams lighting up small open areas and a few white butterflies were in flight. Today’s sun had brought a Specked Wood Butterfly to the garden again this morning.
The lake too had been very quiet yesterday.
21st Jun. Sam and I headed for St Mary’s Island today and took in the crematorium grounds which was very quiet as far as birds were concerned.
As we watched the waders we spotted four Red Throated Divers flying south and as I collected the ice creams Sam found a pale phase Arctic Skua flying north. Four of five Grey Herons stood along the shore line amongst numerous waders and a single Common Snipe was standing in the sea water. Other waders seen were Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank and Curlew. The Golden Plover numbers have built up nicely now and proved to be the highlight of the wader selection and as they were washed of the rocks north of St Mary’s Island I was able to pick up the American Golden Plover on the island although the birds didn’t settle for long (I scoped from well away from the flock). A lifer for me however and Sam was able to get some decent images of other waders although the light could have been better. Two or three visitors asked me what the large flock of birds were. The small murmuration of Starlings had earlier put on a decent show.
We walked towards Seaton Sluice seeing only Swallows, Rock Pipit, Linnet and Goldfinches near to the cliff area. I was unable to identify the only dark butterfly I saw at distance in flight. There seemed to be little to no sea passage when we arrived at Seaton Sluice so we adjourned for tea before heading off on our usual route to Holywell. Oh, we did find a Grey Wagtail at the mouth of the burn where the rock is cut out. I don’t recall seeing this species in this particular area before. We did later find another Grey Wagtail in the dene and in the area where they usually nest. Numbers of Willow Warblers seemed to be fattening up prior to migration. The tide had reached its highest point now and much of the area was flooded.
As we walked through the dene we heard a Tawny Owl call (perhaps a pair). It was in the area that I know they nest. Sam then got his eye on a Treecreeper close by us on a dead tree and suggested the tree might have been used by Tawny Owls. Just as we were watching the Treecreeper, a Tawny Owl flew out and across the burn into the trees on the other side of the dene. A rather nice and unexpected sighting.