Friday, 16 September 2011
Friday 16th September 2011
The wind had changed overnight to a light easterly and I was hopeful a few migrants might have dropped in. A scan of Gallagher's Gallop and the Sweets Lane and Paris Farm paddocks in East Malling didn't look hopeful. However in the last hedgerow before Kiln Barn Road I spotted the flick of a red tail - a female/juvenile Redstart, a long awaited first for me on the patch. It quickly worked through the hedge and was soon lost to sight - the snatched record shot doesn't really do it justice!
I managed to get back out at lunchtime but the Redstart couldn't be relocated. A Blackcap and 10+ Chiffchaffs were found in the same hedge, indicating there had been a local 'fall' in the area and this was confirmed with my next sighting, a smart male Stonechat, perched on a sloe bush - an excellent patch record. Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the bush, looking directly into the sun, hence the silhouette...but I think you can see what it is?!
I scoured the Paris Farm paddocks sure that there must be something else, getting greedy, but if there was I didn't see it. Last port of call was Sweets Lane Paddocks - it had been pretty much deserted on my brief morning visit. Pied Wagtails flitted across the pasture, 35+ birds in total, and there amongst them, as bright as a Canary was a Yellow Wagtail. Unbelievably this was my first grounded Yellow Wagtail on patch - I was on a roll!
Unfortunately no new birds on the way back to work, but I did notice a snake skin alongside the path (Grass snake??)
The sunshine persisted into the afternoon and I spent the last part of the afternoon/early evening working through the apple rootstock seedling orchard on the Research Station.
A female Sparrowhawk skimmed amongst the fruit trees sending flocks of Wood Pigeons,Starling and Linnets in its wake. A couple of Spitfires and a couple of biplanes headed south (possibly en route to Goodwood?).
Hawker Fury? (Help me Twisden!)
Stampe Vertogen SV-4B G-BRXP (ex-Belgian Airforce trainer?!)