Sunday, 29 August 2010

Up in the Canopy, something moves

Although there may have been marginally fewer birds around than yesterday there was still lots to see, but it appeared that most were the same birds as yesterday with few new arrivals.

There were two Pied Flycatchers at the farm and although Spotted Flycatchers often sit out and pose for the camera Pied Flycatchers are a wholly different ball game. They like to stay high up in the canopy of the big trees and, although they are often visible either chasing each other or doing their job and catching insects, they seldom sit still in the open. When they do it is usually the white belly, high in the tree that is visible.

Occasionally I could see the pattern on the wing. Here you can see the small amount of white on the primaries, confirming that, nice as it is, it isn't something to get the pulse racing.

We are at the end of August and the delicate flowers of Autumn Ladies Tresses are now in bloom. There are a few around the Monument and in the paddock, but the vast majority are growing in the lawns of private gardens. This is a mixed blessing as although they are not being trampled on they are at the mercy of the dreaded lawn mower. I have never really appreciated the value of a beautiful, but sterile piece of manufacture grass carpet as opposed to a wonderful mixture of grass and flowers. That way I have a great excuse for allowing the clover, daises and various other plants, regarded as weeds by the manic gardener to grow unhindered in my patch of grass.

Along the cliff top there was a good movement of Swallows and Martins with just a couple of Swifts making a late exit from our less than summery weather. Most Swifts seem to arrive on or about May 3rd and leave around August 6th. A few continue to be seen for a few weeks, but the later it gets the more they need to be scrutinised.

Looking over the cliff House Martins could be seen above the waves on their way to their wintering grounds. Many House Martins remain into October, and have second broods, but some leave after earlier, the main passage being in September.

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