I was looking forward to this weekend-the weather seemed promising on the east coast, at least it was being talked up quite a lot on Bird Forum. While there was a decent smattering of the common stuff-Pied Flys, Redstarts, chats etc and the first Yellow Brows of the autumn, it did not seem to be enough to tempt us out. Inland it was pretty much the same, a few bits and pieces here and there.
I had Friday off to make a start on the garden. Had to have a tree surgeon out to remove a Birch tree-it was a self seeder and good for the finches, but had put on a big growth spurt recently, hitting 35 foot and really lopsided, leaning at an angle and with some branches over 10 feet long. Since it was overhanging the parked cars and a neighbours shed it had to go. While waiting for him to arrive, I had a new garden tick in the form of a Whitethroat that stayed for a few minutes. Makes me wonder what actually passes through the garden when no-one is looking.
Next project for the garden is replacing the bottom fence and gate. This means taking off a huge amount of Ivy, so no more nesting Robins and Blackbirds for a while unfortunately, and no more late autumn bees either. In a way I'm glad to get rid of it as it got a bit rampant. Had a nice honeysuckle here once, and I am hoping to put another one in, perhaps a climbing rose as well, or maybe a more restrained climbing shrub, so there will be nesting and wildlife opportunities in the future.
Today I went round Aston End and along the river for a couple of hours. The weather was not exactly inspiring, dull, but reasonably warm and no wind. Still a lot of Chiffchaffs around, and the tits and finches are starting to become more vocal and noticeable. Found two pairs of Bullfinch-one near the ford, and another in the yet to be harvested beans near the radio mast. Yellowhammers were everywhere in small numbers-the last walk failed to find any, and there were a few Linnets flying around. Jays are now active, with birds seen regularly on the walk, and six were together near the ford. Heard a Nuthatch on the edge of High Wood while walking along the Walkern road -seems to be a regular occurrence here these days. Not much at all in the paddocks apart from Chiffchaffs and Yellowhammers, though the invisible Little Owl did call once. I still have not seen it this year, it is not in the usual trees and seems to favour areas which cannot be observed from the footpaths. No hirundines this weekend, I suppose most have gone now.
No butterflies either, not unexpected considering the weather. One Migrant Hawker was the only notable insect, though I noticed that Crane Flies seem to be appearing in quantity now.