Chris Farthing’s Woodberry Bird Highlights: August 2018
The highlight of August was undoubtedly the flycatchers. The first spotted flycatcher (main picture above) of the year was seen on the 15th and they were seen on-and-off for a couple of weeks after that. This didn’t come as a surprise, because the same thing happens here every year in the second half of August. This year however, the much more scarce and elusive pied flycatcher (picture 1 below) was seen almost as frequently during the same period.
Many of our regular winter resident birds returned during August, the first yellow-legged gull (2) was seen on the gull pipes on the 16th, the first returning teal (3) was on the 21st, and the first water rail (4) was seen surprisingly early on the 26th. Other winter birds increasing in number through August were shoveler, with numbers rising from one at the start of the month to around 25 at the end, and gadwall, which rose to around 20. Little grebe (5) numbers also approached 20 at the end of August with a second confirmed brood hatching here.
Common sandpipers continued to pass through on migration for the whole of august, with one or two birds being seen almost every day. There were a couple of sightings of kingfisher. Sparrowhawk was the most common raptor seen in august, most often hunting along the woodland trail. Peregrines were also regular.
A feature of August this year was a large flock of house martins which were in the area throughout the month. Numbers of up to 200 birds could be seen either feeding low over the water, landing on the towers around the site, or feeding very high up, depending on weather conditions. There were often a few sand martins amongst them. House martins don’t breed in the immediate vicinity, so it is likely that the birds are grouping together to migrate south en masse during September.
The 9th of August proved to be a busy day for migrating warblers, with the first garden warbler of the year being seen, as well as the first whitethroat (6) and sedge warbler (7) seen for some time. Willow warblers (8) and chiffchaff on autumn passage were seen all month, with double-figure numbers of the former present on occasions.
The total number of bird species seen here in August 2018 was 70, one ahead of the same month in 2017
[All photos by Chris Farthing]