With plenty of rain and commitments to spoil birding this week I had to steal some moments when I could. I spent a few happy natural minutes during a brief lull in weather and work to check the Autumnal highlights of Kissing Alley. The first bird I heard calling was a Jay and whilst I waited for it to appear I realised that only a few feet away from me in the trees were two young birds. It is amazing how such big bright birds can just blend in.
The other thing that is special about the Jay is their eyes which unlike most birds beady black eyes are an almost human blue. Next on the walk where a host of blue tits and great tits still present in good numbers after a good breeding year. Getting a photo of the birds in amongst the dense woodland was more of a challenge but patience was eventually rewarded with the capture below of a male great tit distinguished from the female by the thicker black belly stripe.
The fields around the village are slowly going under the plough revealing their rich brown to the world and with the turn of the soil come the gulls. Lesser black-backed gulls and black-headed gulls are all I have seen this week but the flocks will soon be including common gulls and possibly something rarer. The black headed gulls are slipping into winter plumage as with the first winter bird captured recently (below)
Other recent highlights in the village include an increase in Buzzard and Nuthatch sightings and the final few house martins still braving the weather in their stronghold on Admirals Way. This weekend a high pressure area should bring some more settled dry weather and an opportunity to see if the local swallows are still hanging on. I am unlikely however to see the albino bird spotted in Gloustershire and photographed by Dave Soons. The full story and more pictures are available on the Bird Guides Website Here
‘The Ghost of Summer’