A soggy start at the Land East of the Railway Line
At the very start in the Gatwick Stream grasslands, a cloud of around 45 Swifts were drifting above our heads over the water treatment works. There were multitudes of scruffy-looking Jackdaws and Carrion Crows, apparently in post-breeding condition as they were moulting and missing wing feathers.
A lone Carrion Crow
Further to the east, a Stock Dove performed the classic 'paper aeroplane' display flight right over our heads while a Green Woodpecker flitted back and forth to a small patch of woodland, possibly feeding its chicks hidden somewhere in the woodland fragment.
The damp weather meant that bird activity was quite suppressed, but this gave an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with those familiar species which we take for granted, such as the ubiquitous and relentless Wren, powering through even the worst weather!
Wren song with the call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the background
The alarm call of the Wren is generally a fast 'tec-tec'...
Whereas a Robin call is more like a 'tic-tic'...
Birch, Ash, Alder and Scots Pine make up the canopy in Upper Picketts Wood
In Upper Picketts Wood, a large band of Blue Tits were moving together in a roving flock; potentially several family groups which had banded together...
A Coal Tit then sang out, seemingly at Tom Forward's request...
The twittering of young birds and the alarm call of an adult Chiffchaff alerted us to something in the bushes...
Out of the woods and a brief grassland interlude.... All was pretty quiet and rather waterlogged in Goat Meadow.
Goat Meadow, a scrub and grassland mosaic
The song of a Robin, being slightly upstaged by a Blackbird
The dampest, saddest Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) you might ever see
In the woodland strip (our reliable Chaffinch hotspot), we had lovely views while the parents fed their chicks.
Really not the day to be without a weatherwriter
It was nice to hear the calls of both Treecreeper and Nuthatch in the same vicinity...
However, a lovely end to the survey with close up views of the same group of Swifts, swooping low down over the water treatment ponds...
And the calls of a few intermingled House Martins...
Many thanks to Tom F., Mark and Elliott for your time and enthusiasm!
Our final tally was 28 species, actually a good count for this time of year:
|3||Blue Tit||Cyanistes caeruleus|
|4||Carrion Crow||Corvus corone|
|7||Coal Tit||Periparus ater|
|11||Great Spotted Woodpecker||Dendrocopus major|
|12||Great Tit||Parus major|
|13||Green Woodpecker||Picus viridis|
|14||Grey Heron||Ardea cinerea|
|15||Grey Wagtail||Motacilla cinerea|
|17||Long-tailed Tit||Aegithalos caudatus|
|22||Song Thrush||Turdus philomelos|
|23||Stock Dove||Columba oenas|
|27||Wood Pigeon||Columba palumbus|