31st August 2017

CF sector birds: We enjoyed our first Redstart of the autumn, a male which spent its time feeding along McManic Way [between the Watchpoint and Broadfield], in the same area as an unusually showy Lesser Whitethroat. Two Wheatears were new in and found sufficient turf in the recently harvested Broadfield. A reasonable number of House Martins and Swallows arrived ahead of the afternoon rain, numbering 40 and 200 respectively and with a slightly tardy Swift in their midst. Both Peregrine and Hobby are on the log for the day, the former visiting Stoney Nob (seemingly the adult male from the other day) and the latter cruising high overhead during the morning. Four Meadow Pipits flew through, a Mallard was heard calling and 11 Black-headed Gulls flew over. 10 Chiffchaffs were scattered around the farm but only two Willow Warblers were to be found. Two Blackcaps and three Whitethroats were also seen. Three Pied Wagtails were noted at Legal & General and three Little Owls were calling around the farm. Skylarks have performed their usual late summer vanishing act recently but one was heard today. The Tawny Owl in Lunch Wood was hooting again and usual raptors included a male Kestrel, two Sparrowhawks and four Buzzards. 52 species in total.

CF sector butterflies: A Red Admiral was seen near Canons Farmhouse and a couple of Meadow Browns were seen.

1cy ♂ Redstart
Wheatears near Reads Rest Cottages
adult ♂ Peregrine on Stoney Nob

David Campbell (photo 1), Steve Gale (photos 2-3), Paul Goodman, Linda Mount, Ian Pratley et al

29th August 2017

Yet another Whinchat was found near Rest Rest Cottages. Other sightings at the farm included a Hobby, 10 Swallows, a Whitethroat, two Chiffchaffs, three Yellowhammers, a Sparrowhawk and three Buzzards.

Steve Gale

28th August 2017

The farm wasn't covered today but a Wheatear was found in the BW sector in Hither Field.

A Brown Hairstreak was located by the crosspaths between the Scouts camp and the housing estate in BW. Other butterflies in the sector included five Chalkhill Blues, 12 Small Heaths, a Small Copper, five Speckled Woods, eight Brimstones and three each of Red Admiral, Comma and Green-veined Whites. Common Blues, Small Whites and Meadow Browns were also on the wing.

Three Migrant and four Southern Hawkers were logged and a Slow-worm was encountered in the same area as the Brown Hairstreak!

1cy Wheatear in Hither Field
Slow-worm on the move

Ian Ward

27th August 2017

Things were a little quieter today but there were still some good highlights on offer in a few hours of coverage during the morning. A new Lesser Whitethroat was found at Reads Rest Cottages and fly-overs included three Yellow Wagtails, 20 House Martins, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, nine Black-headed Gulls and four Mallards. One Rook, nine Swallows, a Willow Warbler, two Whitethroats, a Blackcap, nine Chiffchaffs and a Greenfinch were also logged. A Little Owl was vocal from the east side of Horse Pasture.

Geoff Barter, David Campbell, Paul Goodman and Ian Jones

26th August 2017

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Another cracking morning! Early on, a Tree Pipit delivered a couple of notes from high up as it headed south and a Whinchat popped up in the hedge between Ballards Field and Heathside Field. Three Yellow Wagtails passed over by mid-morning and a din around Bog Field drew attention to a male Peregrine under corvid bombardment in the half-dead ash. The falcon was no doubt drawn in by the hordes of pigeons feasting in the stubble fields. Three Red Kites flew over, one assaulted by some of the nine Buzzards counted today. The elusive Lesser Whitethroat was still tacking occasionally along Slangs, along with a Willow Warbler. Other warblers included four Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and five Chiffchaffs. A Mistle Thrush was by the Watchpoint briefly while a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Black-headed Gulls, three Rooks and two Pied Wagtails flew over. Swallows numbered 40 and 22 Linnets were knocking around. Two Little Owls were calling and, more unusual (especially for the time of year) was a hooting Tawny Owl in Lunch Wood. Two Collared Doves were noted.

BW sightings included three Sparrowhawks, a Whitethroat, three Blackcaps and seven Chiffchaffs.

A Migrant Hawker was hawking by Ruffett Wood and butterflies logged at the farm included Red Admiral, Comma and Speckled Wood.

A nice insect find came in the form of a Clouded Yellow at Coneyboro Hill. Also in the BW sector, five Brown Hairstreaks were seen in various locations, a Silver-washed Fritillary was at Fames Rough and other butterflies included seven Chalkhill Blues, two Brown Argus, 30 Common Blues, seven Small Heaths, 80 Meadow Browns, six Speckled Woods, a Red Admiral, a Peacock, 30 Small Whites, three Large Whites, five Brimstones. Seven Common Darters were on the west side of Holly Lane Meadow, two Southern Hawkers were at Piddly Pond and the sector had six Migrant Hawkers.

Common Darter at Holly Lane Meadow
Speckled Wood at BW

David Campbell (photos 1-2), Nigel Jackman, Linda Mount, Natasha Preston and Ian Ward (photos 3-4)

25th August 2017

It was a class early autumn morning thanks to a decent suite of uncommon migrants. Best of all was a Spotted Flycatcher which spent a few minutes on the wires by Reads Rest Cottages, closely followed by a Whinchat at Reads Bottom, an elusive Lesser Whitethroat along Slangs and a flurry of eight Yellow Wagtails which flew southwest. From the heavens a Wheatear dropped into a tree by Doric Field and what was presumably the same unsettled bird was spotted as it flew high southwest later on. Two Black-headed Gulls and singles of Swift, Meadow Pipit and Lesser Black-backed Gull also flew over, while on the ground seven Willow Warblers was a decent count. 35 Swallows, eight Whitethroats, six Blackcaps and four Chiffchaffs were also noted. No fewer than 19 Buzzards were logged and, in the 'latterly notable' category, a singing Collared Dove at L&G and three overflying Greenfinches are worth a mention. Two Little Owls were heard calling.

Spotted Flycatcher by Reads Rest Cottages

David Campbell (photo) and Paul Goodman

24th August 2017

Coverage was limited to a hurried circuit of Owl Meadow but rewarded by a Whinchat in the hedge alongside Broadfield, three Yellow Wagtails heading southwest together, a Willow Warbler in Canons Farmyard and 13 Swallows of note.

David Campbell

23rd August 2017

A couple of hours spent on the south side of the farm this morning produced some quality fly-overs. First up, a Yellow Wagtail headed south at 07:53 and was followed 30-minutes later by two Tree Pipits buzzing as they flew ENE. More surprising later on was a flock of three Snipe which flew high north at 10:27. Other fly-overs included our first four Black-headed Gulls of the autumn (overdue!), a Grey Heron and 18 Swallows, with seven more of the latter involving the breeding pair at Perrotts Farmhouse and their five offspring. Two Little Owls, a Rook, three Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and a Greenfinch were among the other birds noted.

In the dull conditions, butterfly sightings were limited to small numbers of Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns.

David Campbell

22nd August 2017

A male Wheatear was found in Hither Field. Four Whitethroats were seen in the BW sector, where 10 Nuthatches were also counted. Six Swallows and two Chiffchaffs were logged at the farm, along with two Kestrels.

Graham Harris and Ian Pratley

21st August 2017

The southern section of the farm was covered, revealing grounded migrants by way of lone Meadow Pipit and Willow Warbler. Four Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs and six Whitethroats will still involve some local birds. A Rook flew around and 16 Swallows counted included three freshly fledged juveniles by Perrotts Farmhouse. 13  Swifts loitered around Canons Farmhouse. Two Little Owls were calling around Stoney Nob.

Swallow family by Perrotts Farmhouse

David Campbell and Ian Magness (photo)

20th August 2017

Bird sightings in the BW sector were limited to 10 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps and two Buzzards.

Singles of both Brown and Purple Hairstreak were noted (the former being seen at the Harholt Plantation), along with 10 Chalkhill Blues, 10 Common Blues, a Small Copper, a Small Heath, six Gatekeepers, 30 Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood, a Large White and six Small Whites.

Brown Hairstreak
Paul Goodman

19th August 2017

A Swift flew west and other birds at the farm included three Kestrels and two Buzzards.

Two Brown Hairstreaks were seen at the farm: one in the northwest corner of Holly Wood and another along the hedgerow between Broadfield and Owl Meadow. Other butterflies in the sector included a Brown Argus, 14 Speckled Woods, a Small Tortoiseshell, three Commas, a Brimstones, seven Large Whites, 13 Small Whites, five Meadow Browns and a Gatekeeper.

Odonata at CF were represented by two Southern Hawkers, a Migrant Hawker and a Common Darter.

Small Tortoiseshell
Ian Ward

18th August 2017

A Red Kite flew over Round Meadow and two Swallows were over Bog Field. A Willow Warbler was in Lunch Wood and other warblers in the CF sector included singles of Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

At BW, a Mistle Thrush, a Whitethroat and seven Chiffchaffs were logged.

A Holly Blue, four Speckled Woods, a Small Tortoiseshell, eight Small Whites and 10 Meadow Browns were noted at CF, as was a Southern Hawker. In BW there were six Chalkhill Blues, a Brown Argus, four Common Blues, a Small Heath, a Gatekeeper, 17 Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood, two Red Admirals, a Comma and a Green-veined White. A Common Darter was also in the sector.

Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings and Ian Pratley

17th August 2017

Few highlights in the BW sector but 25 Goldfinches at Park Farm is worth a mention.

Duncan Jennings

16th August 2017

Highlights included a Willow Warbler at Parsons Land, a Pied Wagtail at Legal & General and six Swallows at the farm. Three Kestrels, two Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and three Bullfinches were also seen across the patch.

Ian Pratley

10-15th August 2017

I've been away again so here's another quick roundup of events since our last update. 11th saw a Reed Warbler, our third record and found by PGo, turn up at Canons Farmyard. The same day, a Garden Warbler, a scarce autumn bird for us, was found in Round Meadow with three Willow Warblers. 14 Chiffchaffs were also in the CF sector that day, along with three Blackcaps and two Whitethroats. A nice little fall!

Another Garden Warbler was seen in the Harholt Plantation on 10th, when four Willow Warblers were across the patch, a Meadow Pipit was noted near Perrotts Farmhouse and four House Martins flew over Broadfield. Three Willow Warblers were on the patch on 14th. As well as the odd migrant Swallow, we are pleased to announce a confirmed breeding attempt underway.  A Cormorant was a notable fly-over at BW on 11th. One of the local Little Owls was noted along Slangs on 10th and six Swifts flew over the farm the next day. Two Rooks were in the BW sector on 14th.

The first Brown Hairstreak of the year was logged on the east side of Ruffett Wood on 10th. The same day, the BW sector had two Silver-washed Fritillaries, five Chalkhill Blues and five Brown Argus. In BW again, three Brown Hairstreaks were recorded on 15th, along with four Silver-washed Fritillaries, two Purple Hairstreaks, 10 Brown Argus, seven Chalkhill Blues, two Small Coppers and eight Small Heaths.

Common Darters were seen mating by Canons Farmhouse on 13th and another two were noted in BW on 15th. A Southern Hawker was at the farm on 11th, as was a Migrant Hawker on 10th.

our breeding Swallows!

Geoff Barter, Paul Goodman (photo 2), Ian Magness (photo 1), Ian Pratley, Ian Ward and WoodChips Conservation Volunteers

8th August 2017

In the BW sector, a Willow Warbler, three Whitethroats, a Sparrowhawk family were the most noteworthy avian sightings, along with a flock of 30 Goldfinches in Holly Lane Meadow.

Seven Swifts were seen at the farm, as well as four Swallows, two Whitethroats and a Kestrel.

juvenile Robin
Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photo)

7th August 2017

Incredibly, a 'cream-crown' Marsh Harrier flew over the farm again today, this time heading WNW before departing to the north and in view between 09:40 and 09:45. It's tempting to speculate that it could be yesterday's individual returning, having lingered in the wider local area overnight. The southern side of the farm was scoured for grounded migrants but a Willow Warbler feeding in the bean crop in Broadfield was the only obvious example. A number of dispersing juvenile Chiffchaffs were in evidence too, with seven counted. Six Whitethroats and a Blackcap were also logged. Overhead, 11 House Martins and 32 Swifts pushed through, along with six Swallows. Three Greenfinches are also worth mentioning.

A Common Blue was in Canons Farmyard. Other butterflies included a Speckled Wood, a Gatekeeper and two Small Whites.

A Large Red Damselfly was noted in the CF sector.

Marsh Harrier, a little lower this time

David Campbell and Natasha Preston

6th August 2017

Our first in three years, and our sixth record in all, a high-flying female/immature Marsh Harrier stole the show over the farm early in the afternoon as it casually circled at great altitude. Grounded migrants were hoped for but were few and far between, although a single Wheatear, our first of the autumn, represented some 'quality'. Swifts pushed into the WSW wind, with 63 seen in total over the patch. 10 House Martins flew over the BW sector.

Resident birds included a Little Owl flying along the edge of Horse Pasture and fledglings of both Buzzard and Sparrowhawk on site.

In the BW sector, a Clouded Yellow was of course the best of the butterflies, while other species seen included five Silver-washed Fritillaries (one of which being a valesina morph), some 50 Chalkhill Blues, three Small Coppers, 14 Brown Argus, six Small Heaths, a Holly Blue, 120 Common Blues, two Commas, five Peacocks, six Speckled Woods, 30 Gatekeepers, 230 Meadow Browns, 15 Brimstones, three Large Whites, eight Small Whites and three Green-veined Whites.

Butterflies at CF included a Holly Blue, three Common Blues, a Comma, three Red Admirals, two Brown Argus, three Speckled Woods, six Small Whites and four Large Whites.

Odonata were represented by six Southern and five Migrant Hawkers in BW, with another of the latter seen by Legal & General.
♀/immature Marsh Harrier high over the farm

valesina morph Silver-washed Fritillary at Fames Rough

David Campbell (photo 1), Paul Goodman, Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photo 2)

25th July-3rd August 2017

Thanks for bearing with me while I've been away. It's fantastic to have received over 500 records from CFBW during my time in Scotland/Finland. Here's an attempt at a meaningul roundup, please forgive any inadvertent omissions of notable records.

CF birds
The most significant event of the last couple of weeks was the successful breeding of Red-legged Partridge, something which would have been a bookies' favourite were odds to be offered on the next 'new' breeding bird at the patch (although it is possible they bred in the days before the Group). The appearance of Willow Warblers away from breeding territories in mid-summer (or early autumn, depending on how you view things!) is always an exciting indication of the spell of migration to come. The farm received two individuals during the period, with singles on 28th and 30th. Further movement was evident as House Martins began to trickle through, including starting with 11 on 28th then followed by 10 on 30th and three on 3rd. Swifts began their more hurried exodus, with movements of 26 on 25th, 20 on 29th, 19 on 1st and 20 on 3rd. Swallows included a count of 40 on 30th. Notable fly-overs included two Red Kites and a Grey Heron, all on 28th.

BW birds
We don't tend to get many escapees on the patch but a Canary added itself to our very short avian absconders list on 1st. Sightings of 'proper' birds were limited, with a Grey Heron on 30th, plus six Swallows and a Mistle Thrush on 25th about the best on offer.

CF butterflies
A Common Blue on 3rd was noteworthy for the sector. A Holly Blue was noted on 3rd.

BW butterflies
Clouded Yellows, always a fantastic spot locally, were reported on 29th and 1st. Another migrant, a Painted Lady, was seen on 3rd. Purple Hairstreaks appeared on 25th, when five were counted, and four were noted on 1st. Some 12 Silver-washed Fritillaries, including a valesina morph, were logged on 25th. Selected other records include 20 Chalkhill Blues counted on both 25th and 29th, five Small Coppers on 29th and nine Brown Argus on 1st. A Holly Blue was seen on 3rd.

BW odonata
Southern Hawkers continue to patrol the footpaths.  

Brown Argus, BW on 25th
Chalkhill Blues, BW on 25th
valesina Silver-washed Fritillary, BW on 25th
Abia sericea, BW on 29th
Clouded Yellow, BW on 29th
Dwarf Thistle, BW on 29th
Marsh Thistle, BW on 29th
Prickly Sowthistle, BW on 29th
Six-spot Burnet, BW on 29th
Canary, BW on 1st
Clouded Yellow, BW on 1st

Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings (photos 10-11), Ian Magness (photos 4-9) Ian Pratley, Ian Ward, Stephen Ward (photos 1-3) and Woodchip Conservation Volunteers et al