Sunday, September 22, 2013

Routine wanderings on a local patch.

Whilst wandering about my local patch is something I do regularly, as its not demanding of any travel time and usually it produces some interesting birds, today more linked with limited time being available to even consider travelling elsewhere.

As I've said on previous occasions, as soon as the moorland waders and Skylarks finish breeding, the moorland adjacent to home goes quiet. It would be wrong to ignore it altogether, as although its bird diversity might be low from now until next Spring,  it can nonetheless provide some enjoyable birding. Things appear to change very little however, ( not quite true ) and what might be said one month can apply for periods beyond. Currently the most common species is Meadow Pipit with, I suspect, the vast majority being migrants. Compared to last autumn numbers are much better, whatever their provenance, and indicate a good breeding season. Soon, however, their numbers will dwindle and the moor will be much quieter!  Thankfully a local breeder, Stonechat, has appeared to do well with two groups of 7-8 birds around, replenishing numbers that were reduced quite markedly a few winters ago.

The usual passage of Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch, Whinchat and Linnet has hardly occurred and Northern Wheatear cleared off very early after a disastrous breeding season locally.  Warblers too went through in low numbers and in a very restricted "window", making the autumn pretty uninspiring.  Odd Swallows are still flicking through and a few Starling flocks have taken up residence with 70 or so currently near the house. Currently the local Choughs make up for things and today saw a group of eight and a separate trio feeding on areas of impoverished turf out on the moor. These, together with the local Ravens and Hooded Crows, provide easy views of the more engaging members of our Corvid family.  Both Pied Wagtail and "White" Wagtails are still in evidence, the former a local breeder and the latter moving through as a migrant from Iceland. Most of each of these move on with a few of the former remaining in winter, their numbers again increasing when birds return in March after a winter further south.  As a precursor to what will soon be the arrival of autumn thrushes  ( Redwing and Fieldfare ), wintering Robins have arrived from the Continent. Birds calling from somewhat inappropriate places herald their arrival in early September with their preferred habitat being somewhat less associated with human habitations than our resident birds. Other than that odd Reed Bunting, Wren and Pheasant comprised the list for the whole outing. Not a lot, but a useful backcloth which both catalogues the various points of the season we've currently reached as far as departures and arrivals are concerned.