Thursday, 9 August 2007

Thursday 9th August

A chilly start again this morning, a Chiffchaff was seen in the Oak by the Pea Field, calling and flitting from branch to branch. A pair of Bullfinches called softly to each other by the Duet tree but weren't seen. After Warren's success with Wheater and Yellow Wagtails in Hadlow I paid extra attention to the mown areas alongside the agllop and the paddocks by Kiln Barn Lane, but nothing was present. The barn that held the Little Owl is now full of hay bales, to the extent that I can no longer look in, so I'm unlikely to see the owl for sometime unless I catch it on a fence post.

A Whitethroat skulked in and out of the shrubbery by the entrance path to Ditton Quarry at lunchtime, rather subdued in comparison to their behaviour back in June! A Bullfinch called from an Elderberry bush. A second call was heard distantly and as I went to investigate I saw a juvenile Bullfinch on the path ahead of me. It's been a few years since I saw a juvenile and I forgot how strange they looked - the white rump was apparent along with black markings an white markings on the wing, with a hint of indigo blue (reminiscent of the Hawfinches I saw a couple of years ago in my garden!), but it's top half was 'boring' brown, and minus the black cap it's eye looked very prominient, as did it's beak. It was confiding enough to let me get within 10ft of it before flying off. Bullfinches seemed to be the order of the day and a further 3 were heard, all in different locations, within the quarry complex. A large hedge of Buddleia was frequented by just 5 Gatekeepers, despite being in full bloom and a large area of majoram below them - guess this just isn't the year for butterflies. 3x female Common Blue and a number of Meadow Browns were the only other butterflies seen. By the pond 6 Common Newts were found under a rock, and more shell fossils were found.

One of the Polish farm workers, an experienced birder, spoke to me after work to tell me he'd seen a Merlin fly east over site this afternoon.

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