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 lucky 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 it 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.