I was out early today, trying to make the most of the rain free period, if the forecast was to be believed. It was a gloomy morning with a threatening sky. Most notable were the groups of Swallows, with smaller numbers of House Martins moving along the cliff. A few "alba" wagtails called "chiswick" as they flew over and small flocks of Linnets and Goldfinches were on the move.
Out in the big field a Wheatear popped up on a clod of earth. It seemed big and bold when I saw it next to a meadow Pipit.
Although Wheatears are widespread we do get a passage of the sub-species leucorhoa that breeds in Greenland. In Spring some of the late birds are picked out as this population, and although I'm not suggesting that this bird was one, they do move through in Autumn. The only way to be certain it by the measurements when the are caught for ringing.
Farm Wood still had a very mobile group of Chiffchaffs roaming from the wood and along the hedges. It's getting to the time that we should find a Yellow-browed Warbler amongst them, but today I had not luck in finding one of these Sibes. They are being reported from various east coast sites and there is even one in Cornwall. The number of Ring Ouzels seems to have increased, with at least five along one of the hedges. They are difficult to see, remaining deep in the bushes while announcing their presence with a characteristic harsh "tacking". There also seemed to be an increase in Song Thrushes. By 10.30 the rain arrived, but cleared up enough for a further walk round this afternoon, but the day remained resolutely gloomy and
Now that the stubble has gone there been a good deal of much spreading going on, but fortunately the wind has mainly been from a quarter with a large westerly component, keeping any less pleasant odours away from my garden!