I am loving having no work this summer; birding almost every morning, swimming in the afternoon, reading and drinking beer on the balcony in the evenings. It is simply paradise, and I’m wondering if it is possible for me to retire at 41.
Visiting the patch every day is helping me to spot so much more than on my usual weekend visits. Lots more exciting juveniles these days, a whole host of little guys hanging around.
A couple of young green woodpeckers spotted over the last few days, one in particular being especially fearless.
They are often seen on this dead tree to the rear of the patch, hanging out with up to three great spotted woodpeckers.
Big delight to see two juvenile golden orioles close up too. Noisily calling above the marsh most mornings.
But the juvenile highlights are the three moorhen fledglings which are showing off openly…
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Several visits to the patch over the past couple of weeks, and many good finds. The biggest excitement was that at last I got confirmation of water rails breeding on the patch.
In the past, I had only seen water rails in the winter months and had thought that they perhaps only wintered on the patch. But this year I heard rails calling in April and also saw one in March, but on Sunday I saw a juvenile venturing into the open by the pond.
This is an incredibly exciting find for me, and I can still hardly believe that water rails can actually live and breed in such a small area of wetland. It hung around for quite some time with the juvenile moorhens which I am seeing every morning now.
A turtle was also sunning itself nearby, one of two which seem to be in the pond.
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Everything has quietened down on the patch these last few weeks as the summer lull sets in. This is almost the only sign of summer, however, with dull and rainy days the norm since July.
Nonetheless, a few surprises since the last post. The open ground where I saw the woodlarks last month has offered up more excitement, with a pair of linnets apparently resident there together with a few white wagtails.
These are fairly common birds around the city and I have long expected a couple to turn up at some point, but it is still great to finally see them. This open ground is seething with butterflies, moths and grasshoppers and has become one of my favourite parts of the patch, especially when the sun finally comes out and sets all the crickets to singing. It also seems to be the only spot on the patch where
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This will be a fairly short post because there is actually very little happening on the patch at the moment.
One exception is a pair of sedge warblers which were feeding low in the reeds yesterday. Otherwise a few red backed shrikes like the one in the header photo are showing up, five young pheasants flushed on the meadow, and a mini-influx of spotted flycatchers.
Also a couple of whinchats last weekend.
The large sparrowhawk was very active on all of my visits during this period and I wonder if she is forcing the birds to keep their heads down. I can’t even get many photos because no bird will stay in the open for long enough for me to get a shot.
The heavy winds this week brought down a couple of dead trees on the patch. Firstly this one by the little marsh which has been dead…
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Still very little happening on the patch these days. Every time I visit, two large sparrowhawks are harrying big flocks of fieldfares, tits and finches from one side of the field to the other, barely giving them a moment’s piece.
The sheer wariness of the local birds means that there is little to see, not even many spotted flycatchers, usually the early autumn staple of the patch.
Once again, the most exciting find on the patch was more terrestrial, this time an Adder crossing the path at the top of the rise below the meadow.
Together with Grass, Aesculapian and Dice Snakes, this means that there are four species of snake active on the patch; I only need to find a Slow Worm and a Smooth Snake for the full Slovak set.
Because of this prolonged dry spell on the patch, I’m spending more time these days looking…
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