With the arrival of September, I thought that I would go for a wander on my old patch this evening to see what was around. It started rather quietly (as expected), but as I headed along the overgrown path behind the house, I noticed a bird flit up from the dense undergrowth of brambles into a birch tree at about head height. My immediate impression was of one of the larger warblers – probably a Blackcap or Garden Warbler. However, the bird began to move around in the tree, but was extremely well hidden by the leaves. I did however note the following features. A plain underside with buffish flanks. Relatively thick legs which were dark, possibly grey. A dark eye with fairly obvious eyering and a fairly long primary projection. However, worryingly I also glimpsed relatively bold scaling on the undertail coverts – a feature found in Barred Warbler. Whatever the bird was, it was determined not to show well, as it disappeared back into the undergrowth – disturbed by a cyclist – and did not show again.
I was quite frustrated by this mystery bird, but moved on anyway, picking up a Willow Warbler further along the path. I was encouraged by the distinctive ‘yaffle’ call of a Green Woodpecker. The bird – clearly a juvenile – flew across the field towards the farm (It later showed distantly on a telegraph post). It may seem that I’m getting a little over excited about this bird, but it is only the fourth record of this species in the valley (with two previous records from early autumn). Here are a couple of ropy record shots of the bird:
Nearly as good as the woodpecker was a Spotted Flycatcher, flycatching from the trees beside the farm. This is the sixth record for the valley, and it showed very well in the evening light before I headed for home.
(Also worthy of a mention is the Peregrine which I saw from my house on the 23rd August being only the fifth record for the valley).