Took Sarah down to Wisley yesterday. Had to have the annual flu jab first and picked her up just after 0900.
She and Ed had been hearing a bird from the garden, presuming it to be some sort of raptor, and it was calling when I arrived-a Ring Necked Parakeet. She saw another down near Heathrow which I missed, but there were several at Wisley. Unbelievably, while coming home over the Lea at Hertford, another 14 flew over the car.
The gardens are just starting to colour up for autumn, with only a few trees and shrubs looking autumnal, though the berries and fruit are impressive. The late perennials and grasses are looking fantastic at the moment, lots of dahlias, asters and salvias in particular, and we enjoyed the big borders and meadow beds. Meadow saffron and Cyclamen everywhere, with many of the latter more unusual species in the alpine house among the late blooming bulbs.
Apart from the parakeets we saw a lot of tits and crests in the woods of Battlestone Hill, plus a couple of Treecreepers in the banana grove. Nuthatches were heard all the time and we found a large group of maybe seven or eight in trees near the alpine house.
Rather disappointingly only a few butterflies were flying-a few Small Whites and Speckled Woods, and despite the large amount of water, only a couple of Migrant Hawkers and a single Southern Hawker were seen.
On the way back home, a Peregrine near London Colney was a nice bonus.