I spent a couple of hours yesterday evening wandering around part of my local patch, and was delighted to find what must rank as the tamest Yellowhammer in history. In the end I was able to get within a couple of meters and the bird still showed no signs of discomfort. Perhaps the dark conditions were masking my outline as with fog rolling up the valley and thick cloud obscuring the sun, even I was having trouble seeing very far. I did my best with what limited light I had but obviously an SLR would have been a big advantage in such conditions.
Down on Goppa Hill the Green Woodpeckers were showing very nicely though still remained difficult to approach. It’s great to see them again as despite hearing yaffling almost every day it’s actually been a good while since I’ve clapped eyes on one. Elsewhere Swallows were on the move in good numbers with the usual patch trio boosted by a couple of hundred new arrivals. They filled the air above Bryn-bach-Common and its surrounding fields, yet another sign that autumn is coming. I was particularly pleased to see a few juveniles on the fence behind our house as well as several House Martins, although it looks like the local Swifts have already left for warmer climes. The common also seems to be holding at least two family groups of Stonechats at present which is more positive news.
A Kestrel and two Buzzards accounted for the local raptors with one of the latter being particularly vocal. I originally thought it was a juvenile but its colouration appeared to be too dark, but who knows given their penchant for plumage variation. Other ‘big stuff’ included a single Raven heading over to Cefn Drum and a large flock of Jackdaws and Rooks feeding on ground to the north. Special mention should go to the mixed flock of Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits which have spent the last week or so on our back lane. They’ve been providing excellent entertainment as they squabble amongst themselves, and yesterday the Blue Tits looked to be entering the final stages of their “who can hang upside down from the thinnest branch” competition.