It’s amazing what a bit of sun and some great birds can do to lift the spirits, and thankfully we got both in spades this evening as we wondered around our local patch. Up on Goppa Hill the mixed flock of Tits, Chaffinches and Goldcrests were still to be found in the same area they have occupied for the last month or so, although this time the Long Tailed Tits were showing particularly well.
There were no signs of the Green Woodpeckers up by the ruined house but a Grey Squirrel represented something of a rarity here, being only the second I have seen locally in the last few years. Sadly it hopped off before I got chance to take a photo, perhaps hiding from the Red Kite which drifted over our heads shortly after. As we moved on to Bryn-bach-Common it became evident that there had been an influx of Meadow Pipits with their numbers way above the recent norm. It’s always hard to put a figure on exactly how many are about, but given that we seemed to disturb a couple every twenty meters or so I’m going to say lots! It was a male Stonechat that really stole the show though by perching on an electricity pylon almost within touching distance.
I’ve been trying to get close to these birds for a while now and these are easily the best results that I’ve had. The bird was completely oblivious to my presence just beneath it and indeed started to preen on a couple of occasions. It only moved on when another pair turned up nearby and they decided to chase each other off, but not before I’d managed to grab a quick shot of one of the culprits.
Elsewhere on the Common things were pretty quiet with no Yellowhammer’s seen or heard, much to my disappointment. I swear they only turn up in bad light. There was however a distant Buzzard and rather curiously a flock of Chaffinches that kept taking to the air before resettling a little further off. This isn’t a species that I normally see in such large numbers away from the woodland on Goppa Hill, so I wonder if they too could have been recent arrivals. Rook numbers were also relatively good with at least twelve individuals seen including this one silhouetted against the setting sun.
We rounded off the day nicely with a Raven over the back garden which went some way to make up for the lack of Swallows in the sky. At the risk of repeating myself yet again, autumn is definitely on its way.