1 September 2009

Autumn birding back on patch

The weather has changed - still pleasant enough, but notably cooler and breezier. That means changes in the local birding.

I went to Napton and then Draycote Reservoirs on Sunday morning to see that for myself. Napton was v. v quiet - just Tufties, Coots, Moorhens, a few Great Crested Grebes (along with three juveniles) and the odd Mallard here and there. But Draycote had some of the birds I was expecting to mark the real start of autumn passage.

First were the Yellow Wagtails, perhaps six or seven dotted around. Then I found one of four Wheatears which had been spotted - these little bouncing birds are a real favourite of mine. In the muddy banks of Tofts Bay were a pair of Common Sandpiper, and all over the water were big flocks of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins, gathering to begin preparations for their long migrations south. A Lesser Whitethroat completed my birding morning, although I reportedly missed a Whinchat by not many minutes.

Back in the village, I was later treated to great views of a Sparrowhawk as it flashed around the gardens and houses, startling everything including our last remaining House Martins.

Bird of the day - Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), a colourful little bird with a bright white rump, similar in lots of ways to the Whinchat I enjoyed so much last week.

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