Stunning Leaf Gems steal the month

Anticipation was high for October, surely there would be some nice birding on the patch and hopefully new moth species for the garden entering autumn. 

The weather was a mixed bag at the start of the month but the wind conditions and rain added to bringing birds in. Groups of birds were already starting to move along the coast, siskins were still heading through but in smaller groups than before. On the 3rd 15+ Brambling landed in a tree behind the back garden before heading off south over the house, a big fall of birds continued throughout the day with good numbers of Song Thrush, Blackcaps and Robins, near the clifftop I saw a single Hawfinch with chaffinches, Redwings were starting to increase and a Willow Warbler feeding in the ivy clad bushes. The next day, 4th Oct, numbers of thrushes were still coming in off the sea, 18+ House Martins, a couple of Swallows and Hobby passed along the cliffs, Blackcaps were dotted everywhere and a few Grey Herons were the first of a few to be seen passing over. 


On the 9th I trapped a new moth species, a Green Brindled Crescent.


On the 12th I picked out my first Fieldfare of the autumn, thrushes were still scattered all over the place. On the 13th the wind conditions were coming in off the sea so I set about doing some sea watching. Upon arrival at the cliffs I noticed a few gulls sat up on the sea and groynes, strategically placed for the birds coming across the sea on migration about to make landfall and no doubt exhausted. The thrushes had to run a gauntlet.

This Herring Gull took some of the feathers of this thrush but was unable to down it.
A Fieldfare makes it to the safety of the scrub and bushes, narrowly avoiding the pursuing Herring gull.

With the strong winds, the numbers of sea faring birds had increased, Brent, Eider, Wigeon, Shelducks and these Common Scoter, above, got blown closer to shore.
Groups of birds were still heading in over the coastline, these Starlings at least avoided the gulls below.
3 Velvet Scoter close in was a lovely addition to the tally of birds passing.

Some of the birds were not so luck in making land.
Once downed in the water they had no hope unfortunately.
Later that day the weather worsened and the rain picked up, this in turn downed a lot of thrushes, behind the house a fall of 30+ Redwing along with a few Fieldfare, Starlings and Blackbirds busily fed in the paddock.


The 15th was a day I won't forget in a hurry, whilst checking along the lane for birds I decided to set myself up and try to photograph the Redwings coming and going to feed on the berries. 


There were lots of Blackbirds present along the lane hedgerows and nearby paddocks. 

I noticed goldfinches coming to a puddle to drink and bathe, then joined by Goldcrest drinking, my attention was drawn to the puddle now and then to a few Goldcrests feeding in a nearby sycamore tree, such a lovely dainty little bird and a challenge to get a nice photograph before they flit off out of the camera view!


I managed to grab a couple of shots which were okay, it was at this point that whilst watching 3+ goldcrests flitting around in the tree my eyes came across a tiny warbler......straight away I knew what this was and panic set in to follow it feeding, I had to get a photo of this self found stunner......a Pallas's Warbler.



I was able to get the attention of an arriving birder who got onto straight away as he joined me, it thankfully kept to a short circuit of a few sycamore trees allowing some lovely views and the chance for me to grab a few photos of this stunning little gem.
The next day whilst walking the dogs through the clifftop wood a birder had found another Pallas's feeding in a group of Goldcrests, after walking the dogs I went to view the bird, albeit more elusive than the bird the day before, what was noticeable were the numbers of Goldcrest that were in the wood, well into the double figures. During September I had found a Yellow Browed Warbler along the lanes and indeed there was one reported the same day of the Pallas's in the clifftop wood, so on the 17th after seeing the Yellow Browed whilst walking the dogs I tried to get some photos of the other little leaf gem. It was showing regularly in a couple of sycamores so it was a game of waiting for it to return to feed there, during this time the rain started to get heavier and without a coat I decided to pop home and grab a coat then come back out, firstly I headed to the other end of the village to check out some buntings a friend had been viewing, I headed off after a short while to try for the Yellow Browed again and on the way found a Black Restart on top of a bungalow roof.

The weather had now brightened and I once again set up near the favoured sycamore trees for the Yellow Browed, I didn't have to wait long before it returned and grabbed a few flitting images.



What a month October turned out to be, with favoured wind conditions bringing in the birds and photo opportunities of two stunning leaf warblers I couldn't of been happier, and then there were the moths which did actually make me happier!
This Merveille Du Jour was a welcomed new addition to the garden list which I had been waiting to trap.
Yellow Line Quaker, another new garden species.
Grey Shoulder Knot
&
Brown Spot Pinion 
Both new macro species for the garden, and I'm hopeful of being able to bag another couple of species on the wing at the moment weather permitting.



















 

The Geese Have Returned.

 September got off to a good start, a morning walk to the front produced this lovely Wheatear, very relaxed and enjoying the morning sunshine on the clifftop bench.



I was hoping the month would produce some new moth species to get my tally up, on the 4th I bagged a new species for the garden, a Juniper Pug.


On the 8th the first group of geese flew over the house, letting us all know the changing of the seasons are upon. A count of 31 Pink footed geese flew over and in days to follow a few more groups were seen heading towards the broads. Also on the 8th I caught 2 new moth species for the garden, a Centre Barred Sallow and a Narrow Winged Pug.



With the middle of the month already creeping up there was a movement of birds, namely Siskins. I counted quite a few groups moving over the house. 

I was getting some lovely moths during the middle phase of the month, some new for the year and one or two new for the garden, beauties such as Sallow, Brindled Green, Red Green Carpet and a lot of Black Rustics.




On the 19th I heard a Yellow Browed Warbler calling from trees beyond the back garden, the trees were moving too much in the wind for me to pick it up though.
There had been a few sightings of Redwing around and a couple of possible sightings for me gave hope of connecting properly but unfortunately it didn't come about. On the 21st I counted 13 Common Buzzards pass the house all in a line, there had been a count of 16 birds moving past Beeston so these would of been the same group but a few were no doubt just out of sight or had already passed, lovely procession to see though.
A walk down the lane, still on the 21st, and I found a Yellow Browed Warbler, it was a very elusive bird and over the next few attempts at  trying to see it I only managed to hear it calling.
On the 22nd I witnessed yet another movement of Siskins, but this time they were in their hundreds, I must of had at least 300 go over the garden during the morning!
I managed to get a couple of new moth species for the garden before the weather would change!
Autumnal Rustic and Large Ranunculus.



Then the weather changed and we were hit really bad, the worst since the 1987 Hurricane for sure. The 70+mph winds battered everything and caused so much wind damage to the plants the effects could be seen all over, most stuff had some dying foliage, very sad to see, and it stopped mothing for September with my macro list standing at 199 species!!!


With the seas rough and a strong wind blowing in off the sea for days I ventured to the front to seawatch, plenty of wildfowl and a possible Leach's Petrel and also the second geese species for the autumn with a decent amount of Brent Geese moving west.




Onwards and looking forward to October.










 













A Windy August.

 A Windy August which hampered mothing but did bring some nice bits in. The first half of the month brought in new birds and new moths. I found this huge beetle near the moth trap one night, I had seen one the year before but this time round I was able to get a closer look and some photographs. It is a Great Silver Water Beetle, not the sort of thing you'd expect near a moth trap but they do inhabit coastlines along here and get attracted to the light. When it flew off it was like a mini drone taking to the air, you can see the size next to my little finger.





Around the garden or in our neighbours and overhead I saw a few species of dragonfly, Southern,/Migrant Hawkers, Brown Hawker and Common Darters. This male Common Darter was seen with a female on the lawn and looked like it was laying eggs?

These next two moths were both new additions to my garden moth list, the Canary Shouldered Thorn and Twin Spotted Wainscot. The Canary Shouldered Thorn is a favourite with its bright yellow almost furry body.

Once again I was lucky to see a few Pied Flycatchers as they moved through on their way south, such a lovely little bird and one I won't tire of seeing every year hopefully.


The second half of the month saw a movement of birds moving through but also strong windy conditions which gave way to some sea watching. There were groups of wildfowl and waders being blown through the choppy seas with sightings of Skuas and the odd shearwater too. I was able to see a group of 3 Black-tailed Godwits which were new for the patch list, in this photo we have the other Godwit, the Bar-tailed. The Black tailed has a white rump, whereas on these birds the white extends up the back.

This group of Sandwich Terns were resting up on the beach one morning, normally actively feeding as they pass along here.

Smaller birds passing through over land were not matching the numbers of birds passing out to sea but I still managed to see a few nice ones, this Lesser Whitethroat was my only sighting of one this year.

Wheatear had also been a no show bird in the spring just like the Lesser Whitethroat, so a couple of birds in front of me on the cliff one morning was a welcome sight even if it was for the briefest moment.

A young bird and adult Blackcap were a nice sight as they moved and fed in the bramble.

As the summer draws on I now check for the large Convolvulus Hawkmoth, watching the Nicotina plants every time I ventured out in the garden in the hope one was feeding on this favourite flower of theirs, and approaching the end of the month I got one, but this time not on the plants but resting up next to the moth trap.