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30 August 2017
A few days in August, 2017
No point comparing August with any previous year's, like we usually do, as there was just not the coverage and one can only wonder what was missed and will be missed over the next 2 month's and the best birding period in our calendar?
It was a bit touch and go whether a Pied Flycatcher would be picked out of the dense foliage anytime during the month, but James finally prevailed picking up a real elusive individual on the 28th. More likely were Spotted Flycatcher, because they are commoner, stick around and stick out. Slightly earlier than in previous years, 2 groups were seen: in the Brick Pits (where the 2 birds remained for most of the week) and a party of 4 birds in the Old Sewage Works on the 13th. Bob then took things to another level on the 24th, finding 12 birds on the flats alone.
As for chats: A smattering of Wheatear and singles of Redstart though undoubtedly a good few of these were missed on days of no coverage; Whinchat numbers desperately low with only a high of 3 on the 25th–these are birds that seem happiest when in large groups, but it could well be the lack of broom is inhibiting such gatherings.
Yellow Wagtail numbers appear well down on the days we were out and only one record of Tree Pipit is likewise disappointing.
The only bird(s) of note in the destroyed area of the enclosure has been a Spotted Flycatcher or two, none of the Redstart have given it a look in, which may not be surprising as more dogs, cycles and people are using it as a thoroughfare.
The last big movement of Swift graced our skies on the 5th and by the end of the month small groups of Swallow were heading in the right direction for once. The local House Martin have not been as successful as previous years, which is not good as even in good years there is a high mortality rate from one season to another.
Better news from Rob Sheldon who found the first hard evidence of Little Owl breeding on the flats for many a year finding 3 birds perched out on a limb on the 27th. A Tawny Owl was seen being harassed by the local Jays in Reservoir Wood on the 30th by Sean Kerrigan.
And better news for the local Skylark with 14 birds being counted in 2 groups (one by Alex, the other in the main brooms area) on the 5th, by the end of the month finding any larks or pipits for that matter was not so easy.
Up to 3 Garden Warbler were on the flats at any one time, with a single Reed Warbler picking its way through the brooms at the end of the month and Sedge Warbler were heard and seen in the park on the 13th. Whitethroat are becoming harder to find, with some already on their way south, but basically because there are fewer to start with, similarly for Lesser Whitethroat (one seen wearing some bling was not from these here parts) and Blackcap. With fewer Long-tailed Tit evident on the flats, no large flocks of phylloscs have been noted either–though non local Willow Warbler numbers are probably about par for the time of year and absolutely not a sniff of a Wood Warbler!
A visiting birder from south of the river thought he had a Tree Sparrow on the south side of Alex on the 19th–I think Bob may be the only person living here now who might have been around for the heyday of the Old Sewage Works where they once bred–an almighty local twitch would gave ensued if this could have been confirmed!
3 Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper was the wader action for the month and duckwise the first returning female Teal was seen on the 12th. Finish on a high!