25th September, daily fly-over Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Yellow Wagtail. I fail as usual to identify the fungi growing in the park. Small Tortoiseshell and Green-veined White reported. The former seen to be settling down for hibernation in an out-house.
22nd September, David reports a Tawny Owl calling from trees behind Ashmore. Several Swallow low and south. Cath sees Peregrine over Wright Road.
21st September, at CEP I flush 2 Snipe whilst cutting Willow. Several Goldcrest, Blackbirds and Chiffchaff are present. I keep treading on odd shaped Acorns under the Oak and decide to have a good look at the tree. It has no ‘normal’ acorns on it at all, all are ‘Knopper’ types, strange star shaped fruit infected by a parasitic wasp. I scan the ground and only find Knoppers. This name comes from the distorted shape resembling a medieval German felt hat. The upshot is that this tree will have no viable way or reproducing from this year’s fruit. Cath sees Comma and Speckled Wood.
17th September, the sky has birds going to and fro. 60+ Linnets are ready for winter, a handful of Skylarks go over, the odd Meadow Pipit and Yellow Wagtail. Green Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail and a 20 strong flock of Long-tailed Tits reported. The vocal Little Owl is becoming a regular post-midnight in our row of gardens along Armley. There is a young Rat in the Yew tree eating the berries (if you please!) and shows no fear as it sits in an old Wood Pigeon’s nest taking the evening sun.
14th September, 0100hrs and the Little Owl is calling so loudly it wakes me. The moon is huge and a mist is developing. 0645hrs I unlock the Park and find the small bird flock busy on the sunlit hedge at bottom left. There are easily 20 Chiffchaff, some singing, some displaying, 6 Blackcap, some with black and some with brown ‘caps’. 2 Goldcrest and the usual Tits of 3 species. 2 Cormorants fly over, as do several Rook, and 3 Raven, and 1 disturb 2 Moorhen from the pond.
11th September, it is blustery but mild and humid, courtesy of ex hurricane Dorian. There seem to be Southern and Migrant Hawkers everywhere I go. A brief lunchtime visit to CEP and a (the) mixed flock of small birds includes a good dozen Chiffchaff, 1 obvious young Willow Warbler and 1 interesting probable adult. This bird seems larger, with contrasting clean, white underneath, with a lemon yellow vent/under-tail, the upper-parts are distinctly greyish. Bats are reported from Rockhill Road, The Leys and Grange Farm.
8th September, Thanks to Ian for the annual mow of grasslands at CEP. The exposed ground is now of interest to a passing Red Kite, and a Kestrel. I hear Yellow wagtail and Meadow Pipit, and see at least 4 Chiffchaff, a Southern hawker and 20+ Common Darter, and one Ruddy. A flock of Mistle Thrush and a Grey Wagtail reported.
7th September, a Hobby over East Street heads for Cotton End but is intercepted by the Swallows from Highfields. It avoids the noisy throng and heads south towards Ashmore. A small Toad is reported, and we find a Grass Snake.
6th September, a tinge of autumn but 30 odd House Martins over The Banks and Pytchley Drive are still busy feeding until being interrupted by a prospecting Hobby. Two minutes of counter moves by the flock and their predator sees the falcon go very high and around into the sun, only to come straight back out like an arrow having targeted a lone Martin slightly away from the others. A worn out Painted Lady reported.
3rd September, Alan reports Willow Warbler from the Wharf.
1st September, of course I used to be young and fit and now I’m not so. Last week’s manoeuvre to get better views of the Redstart (jumping the stream) has left me with a swollen left ankle and a swollen right knee. I do remember the ankle going over as I landed fully on the knee. I don’t use my hands to ease the fall as I always hold on to my binoculars so they don’t smack me in the face, and because they cost a couple of month’s wages. Was it worth it for better views of the bird? Yes it was and always will be. Although I can’t walk yet.