I made 8 patch visits during October and recorded a total of 70 species of birds. After a disappointing September, the quality in October shone through with some real star birds: I added four birds to my patch year list and three of those were brand new patch lifers (the most successful month for patch life ticks for a few years for me).
- Nick’s Rustic Bunting – a true patch ‘mega’ that stayed for a few days (17 October to 21 October), occasionally showing exceptionally well.
- Tony’s Barn Owl may have been outshone as it showed on a day (20 October) when the Rustic Bunting was still an attraction, but it was almost as unexpected, locally. A true patch mega.
- Completing the set as third patch life tick was a flyover Yellowhammer on a day (27 October) when I saw it fly back and forth (or as separate birds) three times in a morning. As Richard and I discussed, it is extraordinary to think that I had seen Rustic Bunting and Ortolan Bunting on the Patch before Yellowhammer.
- My first prolonged views of Snipe on the Patch with a pair of birds feeding regularly on Shoulder of Mutton and probably more views of them flushed from the Brooms than any other single month.
- I broke the record with largest patch Teal count with 57 birds, mostly on Heronry, on 6 October, although this was then broken again a few days later.
- More records were broken with early and late migrants in October. Several of us had Redwing over on 6 October (the patch earliest for returning birds) and a Redstart on 7 October was only a day off our latest, and was also a highlight for me as only the second one for me this year.
- Having missed out entirely on Ring Ouzel in 2017 and missed several Spring birds, I was pleased to find a first winter bird in the Enclosure on 13 October and an adult male flew low over my head in the Brooms on 20 October.
- I have enjoyed the October visible migration with thousands of Wood Pigeon seen, hundreds of winter thrushes and plenty of finches including Chaffinch, Brambling, and Common Redpoll.
- Getting a garden tick of Lapwing with a flock of 29 on 28 October which I watched fly in over the Western Flats and then fly south from my garden.
- Hearing a single Yellow-browed Warbler call by Alex but then questioning my sanity when it didn’t call again, and so not ticking it (this followed chasing after a tantalisingly small, silent warbler on the day Tony had YBW). No year tick there.
- Not really birding anywhere other than the Patch and one trip to Rainham. I like to mix it up occasionally.
Highlights from elsewhere were:
- Finally getting Cattle Egret on my London list. I stood in the rain at Rainham on 6 October and watched one hop up and down off a cow’s back. Excellent!
- I also watched a Common Scoter float down the Thames on the same day; a year tick for me.
My birding month in five pictures: