Summary: I made nine patch visits in August (although a couple were for very short periods of time) as Autumn migration really kicked into gear. I recorded 73 species of bird in the month, including eight that were new for the year and one, very special, brand spanking new Patch tick (Red-backed Shrike). I also made one non-patch twitch.
- Almost certainly the stand-out bird for the year will be a stunning, long staying Red-backed Shrike found by Nick in Pub Scrub on 28 August. I was lucky enough to have great views of it early one morning.
- The return of the Willow Warblers with this species appearing in my lists for the first time since May and being spotted on almost half of my patch visits.
- Yellow-legged Gull making an appearance for the first time on the patch for anyone this year in August with a recurring sub-adult found by Nick by Alex on the 12 August and a self-found juvenile loafing on the pitches on the 25 August.
- An extraordinarily early returning Wigeon on the Roding on 12 August was almost certainly our earliest Autumn record.
- Hobby and Peregrine have both clearly bred successfully in the local area and I have had several great views of both falcons.
- Fantastic August for passage Yellow Wagtail, with a record patch high for me of 14 over on 30 August, and also my first view of them perching locally, with a flock of 8 that briefly perched in a Hawthorn in the Broom fields on 25 August.
- Traditionally the best month for Spotted Flycatcher, although lower numbers than some years. I got my first on 19 August and a high of four all perched in the same bare tree in Centre Copse on the evening of 29 August.
- I recorded Whinchat on three Patch visits with a high of five individual birds on 30 August.
- A few Wheatear have been seen, but I only recorded one, a male, in the ploughed sections of the Broom fields on 28 August.
- Seeing my first Redstart of the year in the Brick Pits. For three out of the last four years I have seen my first Redstart in the last week of August.
- Hirundines have been more visible this month, although the breeding Swifts had all left before I got out, so they were not recorded this month. House Martin fed in low double digits around Jubilee in particular, and were accompanied by a Sand Martin (embarrassingly my first and only one for the year) on 25 August, and a few passage Swallow later in the month as well.
- Flushing the first patch Snipe of the Autumn from the Brooms.
- Missing the confiding Black-tailed Godwit on 4 August on Alex was gutting.
- I was disappointed to be one of the only regular birders on the patch to miss Pied Flycatcher in August.
- I was also unsuccessful in finding Garden Warbler or Sedge Warbler which both showed in August.
Highlights from elsewhere were:
- Getting Stone Curlew on a late evening twitch to Bowers Marsh.
- Also finding a Blacked-necked Grebe at Bowers Marsh, both on 12 August.
My birding month in five pictures…