Summary: I made 11 visits on to the Patch during September and recorded a total of 70 species of birds; three less than in August. Simply put, September was disappointing and was the only month, along with famously dire June, when I have not found any new birds for my patch year list.
- Tree Pipit flying and calling over Long Wood on 8 September was not a year tick for me, but it was one of only two recorded this Autumn by anyone on the Patch.
- We have recently had some Autumn passage movement of Meadow Pipit adding to our small resident number, and I may have broken the patch record with 239 personally counted birds over out of a total day count of 257 on 22 September.
- A single flock of around 70-80 House Martin (largest flock I have counted this year, by some margin) moved lazily through the Brooms on 12 September whilst the last I saw of our small flock of resident breeders was on 15 September.
- Meanwhile small numbers of Swallow have trickled through on 7 of my 11 visits.
- I also recorded Yellow Wagtail flying over on 7 out of 11 of my visits, but never more than a couple of birds compared to some of the flocks I had in August.
- In an attempt to be ‘half-glass full’, I saw Wheatear on three of the patch visits and Whinchat on two.
- Seeing my third different Yellow-legged Gull on the patch this year; an adult on 22 September.
- Large numbers of Chiffchaff on the day of the Yellow-browed Warbler, (29 September) with also a few Chaffinch starting to appear in places we don’t normally see them.
- Not getting stung by a hornet (see lowlight below).
- The fact that for me, and others, it was a pretty poor September given that it should be a prime month for interesting finds. The westerly winds did not help matters.
- Shockingly I didn’t see a single flycatcher in September, with this now likely to be the only year I have missed out on Pied Flycatcher.
- Missing a Yellow-browed Warbler by minutes. A bird only seen briefly which passed through Long Wood without calling.
- And missed a Green Sandpiper passing over head by being about 70 metres too far south and facing the wrong way (one of the most commonly seen birds that I still need for my Patch list).
- Accidentally standing directly below a hornet nest in Centre Copse and getting hit on the head by one that launched itself or fell on me out of the nest. Miracle I didn’t get stung. (see highlight above).
Highlights from elsewhere were:
- Feeling part of a burgeoning movement for change by joining the ‘Walk for Wildlife’ from Hyde Park to Downing Street on 22 September with the promotion of the new People’s Manifesto for Wildlife.
- The bittersweet and extraordinary sight of seeing a Beluga Whale in the Thames.
My birding month in five pictures: