After I'd finished going through my moth traps, a good morning with a Gem and a Humming-bird Hawk-moth, I decided to have a walk around Bockhill. The first week of October is ideal for Ring Ouzels and I was sure I'd find some. In fact I drew a blank along the hedges round the farm and the Freedown. There were a few Chiffchaffs around and the sky was full of feeding Swallows, not birds flooding through on migration as they were at the weekend but birds making the most of the warm weather and the insects over the fields to stock up before moving on.
I did move on, down to Hope Point. Well before I got there I could hear the characteristic chacking of Ring Ouzels. The best way I can describe the noise is a cross between a Blackbird alarm and an old fashioned football rattle. Standing by the stile and scanning the shrubs at the point, I quickly found a couple at the back sitting up and chacking away.
Another one was slightly closer, nearer the edge of the field that goes up the hill beside the gold course. I could hear others calling and in the end saw six birds, although given the density of the scrub, there may have been more.
There were a few Song Thrushes around and two fed along the footpath by the scrub. They were feeding intently and were reluctant to fly as I walked along. I got the feeling that they were probably migrants that had arrived with the Ouzels.
Also along the path this Spotted flycatcher was chasing a Small White butterfly. I was surprised that it missed, but like the thrush above the pale tips on the coverts show that it was a first year bird, possibly not yet very experienced at butterfly catching.
In the more open area towards Hope Bay Studio a Stonechat was flycatching from the tops of the bushes. This ones been around for at least a few days and will probably be with us through the winter, provided it isn't too harsh.
Overhead one of the local Kestrels was hovering. On the left wing you can just see the Alula being raised. This group of small quill feathers attached to the first digit are used by the birds to prevent stalling at low speeds, rather like the flaps on an aircraft wing.