31st October, I am unloading the van for work on Tebbit Close and I hear a distantly sharp, solid and loud single Pipit flight call. I look up to see a fairly large, pale bellied bird I am fairly sure is a Water Pipit. These birds breed on Mountains in Europe but winter in small numbers in the UK. Grey Wagtail, ‘big’ flock of Wood Pigeons, more Redwings, a Coal Tit, and Cormorant reported. ‘An alien invasive’ is quoted as I get collared to discuss the amount and variety of fungi about, whilst in the pub. Nice when nature gets noticed!
30th October, Wildlife expert Brian Laney reports an adult Hedgehog from South Close. Thinking about it I have recently noted a number of mainly small swished ‘hogs from several village High Streets during my travels for work. Though I still can’t work out if this means that they now only live in villages, or the road–kill victims on countryside are scavenged quickly and so the evidence of their presence is lost.
29th October, CEP has a Snipe and vocal Green Woodpecker. Conspicuous by their absence over the last month, a dozen Fieldfares (Wintering Thrushes) appear. Quite a few species that normally come over from the continent in September and October have been held up by the onslaught of westerlies, but they’ve now eased and the migration is in full flow.
26th October, incessant rain and the predictable floods. There is no joined up policy for the passage of water from where it falls to where it goes. The big farmer that brings in a big excavator and digs out all his ditches in one session does not mention this to his neighbouring farmer/landowner down-stream. All of a sudden more water flows at a far quicker rate and bottle-necks, and consequent floods are inevitable.
24th October, rain and wind and rain again. The colourful leaves are blasted off and washed away. Over Thrupp grounds a flock of 25 Golden Plover are circling. These birds are from way up north or even Scandinavia. 2 Cormorants over the village look like they’re heading to Daventry Reservoir. I get an interesting record from a chap who whilst driving sees 2 Polecats briefly fighting on Sandy Lane.
19th October, At CEP 2 Red Admiral on the fallen apples, and 2 male Common Darter dragonflies basking in the pallid sun. At home a small orange ‘butterfly’ out in the warm is not what it seems and after a fair bit of effort to get good views, turns into a Satellite moth. In a reverse of habit the Little Owl that has been about the gardens and fields at the back of us most nights, decides to call at 1830hrs as I’m out the back doing the recycling. I race in, grab the binoculars and go and hide behind the hedge at the top of the garden to try and hear where it’s calling from. I slowly stand up and see a small rotund, grey/brown shape sitting on a foot peg on the power pole nearby. I focus in and am stared at by a pair of intense, bright yellow irises. I daren’t breathe, and time stands still, but then a flick of the wings and gone.
18th October, mildness brings out Red Admiral, a Queen Bumblebee, Hawthorn Shieldbug, and flowering Buttercup, Dandelion, and Knapweed. Raven, Red Kite and Buzzard are in the air.
15th October, a flock of 14 Siskin with 10 Redwing going over Armley is a sign that more birds are moving to winter quarters.
13th October, Members of the CEP committee and the Gardening Club are hosted by the Bunnage’s for an apple pressing session. The Apples came from villager’s gardens and the orchards at the park, and were soon transformed into a gorgeous sweet drink.
12th October, Grey Wagtails are coming into the village, with 1 at The Castle, and 1 off High Stack. More Fungi enquiries, and I’m out of my depth with identification.
10th October, The Fungi species are really making a show as I get several photos and reports over the early part of the month. A newt is found, and a Skylark is heard. Alan sees a Tawny Owl at The Wharf.
7th October, more Redwings, flocks of twenty or so, and the sky seems to always have a varying number of Wood Pigeons, with a flock of 200 noted. Goldcrests reported from the village.
6th October, the high grounds of Thrupp have as far back as I can remember regularly hosted passage or wintering Lapwing, and even though their population appears to be in continual decline, 40 birds cross the Daventry Road mid-morning and make my day.
5th October, 0600hrs Little Owl calling, ok.. I’ll get up. In the sky at Cotton End is one lonely Meadow Pipit, uncertain of whether to carry on migrating or stop for a rest. It is soon joined by 1 Swallow and 2 House Martins, and they all move off south. I can hear the familiar ‘seeep’ of a Redwing but can’t yet see it. There are about 6 Robins, 4 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackbirds, and a Mistle Thrush is back on the big berry-laden Hawthorn tree next to the Sheep Shed. He is agitated and looks ready to defend his tree and its precious fruit at all costs. A flock of 50+ Redwings scatter from the dense Blackthorn as I approach. I saw them last in July in Arctic Norway where they are a breeding bird.