Winter Arrivals

Young Mute Swan
Young Mute Swan
The thing with Manor Farm, and the UK in general in October, is that you never know what birds you will see while out and about, some moments you can be watching the last of the summer remnants feeding up for their long migrations or passing swiftly over head; while at other times you are watching the first winter arrivals as they drop in for their first visit of the season.

On other occasions you get luckier still and see both summer hangers on and winter visiting birds while you are out on the same walk,!

Today was one of those days.

Autumn Migration

Common Darter
Common Darter
It's October, migration should be well under way by now, and hitting its peak mid month, well that is the theory at least. And when migration is under way I like to try and get out as much as possible. Being out on the patch means you could turn up anything (others do after all). But you do sometimes have to be there, things can move through quickly not there you may miss out (although this is more pronounced in Spring migration, birds tend to hang around more in Autumn, making sure they have fed up enough before the longest parts of their journeys).

With that in mind after finishing work this morning at 07:00 I headed home to pack the little lady off to school and then headed out for a few hours (daughter pick up was needed later, so I had to make the most of my time).

Last September Ramble

Migrant Hawker at rest
Migrant Hawker at rest
September draws to a close today (I'd better get this up before midnight or I will look silly saying that), and yet we seem to be having more in the way of a summer than we did through July and August. 

Quite frankly I am loving the "Indian summer" we are having at the moment, and long may it continue, it means my autumn walks are warmed by the sun still (no need for a coat, and in fact sometimes I am still in shorts and a t-shirt), and that the air is still full of life.

Not just the domain of birds though (although more on birds in flight later), we are still being treated to the amazing air show that comes from the Odonata of the world, three species were about on today's walk (Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and Southern Hawker).

Long-tailed Tits and Flycatchers

Grey Heron in flight
Grey Heron in flight
Exciting migrants are dropping in all over the country, from exciting American flycatchers in Kent (Acadian Flycatcher) to Eastern Warblers on Shetland (Thick-billed warbler), rare thrushes on the Isles of Scilly (Grey Cheeked thrush) to wandering waders in Wales (Long-billed Dowitcher), so what better time to head out onto the patch and find my own mega, or even just a local rarity would be nice.

Sadly this is Milton Keynes, and as part of Buckinghamshire, the well known local rarity force field is up as usual, so my plans of discovering a first for Britain was well and truly out of luck.

September Wanderings

September Wanderings
September Wanderings - Spotted Flycatchers always welcome
Although I still hope to post more walks this month I have become a little lax at writing my blog posts, so I thought I'd post a quick round up of my last two wanders around the patch (they were quite different in their birds and weather!). 

A quick catch up as it were.

The two walks were: One on Thursday 17th Sept (a beautifully sunny autumn day); and the second on Monday 21st Sept (A wet and chilly, more typical, autumnal day). 

All the photos were taken on the Thursday for obvious reasons (It was dark and wet on the Monday).

House Martins and Swallows

House Martins and Swallows (well these are just HM)
As many of you will know (UK readers at least) we are experiencing, here, what is often known as an Indian summer at the moment (although being the UK that could change pretty quickly), so although we are approaching mid September today was bright, sunny, and warm; warm enough for me to remain in shorts (a little aside I am way more comfortable in shorts than trousers). 

Anyway what that meant for me was after dropping the little lady at school, I decided to fight through the cold virus that has seized my body and head out for a mornings stroll. 

As always at this time of year I was hoping for migrants....