I am currently on holiday, but not doing a great deal of birding.
On Saturday I took Sarah to the RHS Hyde Hall gardens in Essex for their autumn plant fair, which despite the torrential rain the previous day turned out to be pretty good, apart from the cold wind. Autumn seems to have arrived. Naturally I overspent on a variety of bulbs, and herbaceous perennials, but I also picked up a couple of shrubs. The most interesting from a wildlife point of view is the Clethra alnifolia "Hokie Pink'. It seems to be a very good bee plant-one was glued to it while I walked around the fair and had to be firmly dislodged before I got back to the car. Seems to be a very useful late flowering shrub that shouldn't get too big.
The rest of the week so far has been spent revamping the pond which had dried up completely. There was a bit of damage to the liner on one side but that couldn't explain the water loss and I assumed that maybe the bay tree roots had done some damage much deeper. However that wasn't the case and it seems that the plants were the biggest problem. The iris had covered about half the pond, and several loosestrife plants that had seeded and both were basically sucking up vast amounts of water.
So I have completely cleared it out, removed the paving around it and a new liner is going down.
So far there have been a few good birds and insects. A Dunnock has arrived and seems to be settled (as per recent years they seem to disappear during the summer months). Two Chiffchaffs were present yesterday-the first time Ive had more than one warbler in the garden, and one was still around today. Also today, there has been some movements, with several Swallows going over and two Meadow Pipits went over at lunchtime.
While I was having a coffee break, I noticed a Humming Bird Hawkmoth on the salvias, but by the time I got the camera down it had gone. Sarah had one today as well. About the only butterflies at the moment are Red Admirals coming in daily and Small Whites, which aren't lingering.