Chris Farthing’s Woodberry bird highlights: July 2019
A typical July here starts off quietly, but through the month we start to see increasing effects of autumn (southbound) migration. This means some birds start to leave, we may see the odd early winter visitor arriving, and we are very likely to see passage migrants.
The only new-for-2019 bird seen here this month was a meadow pipit (picture 1 below) seen along the woodland trail on the 4th. The species is fairly regular as a flyover in autumn but grounded examples are relatively scarce. The first shoveler (2) since spring was seen on the 9th, and they were seen regularly in small numbers for the rest of the month. The first common sandpiper (3) since spring was seen on the 13th, and they were seen frequently for the rest of the month, albeit only a single bird at a time.
Two species which were seldom seen here during July were common tern and little egret. The former can be explained by the lack of breeding in the local area this year, but the lack of little egrets has been a mystery, especially as there have been periods of low water levels in the month.
Four raptor species were seen here in July. Two red kite (4) were in the sky at the same time on the 4th, and a kestrel was seen on the 31st. This is in addition to very regular sightings of both sparrowhawk and peregrine.
A regular highlight through July were green woodpeckers (main picture above), a family of which have often been seen along the woodland trail. Woodpeckers tend to split up the young between the two parents and many of the sightings have been of one parent with two juveniles.
Swifts are usually the first of the summer visitors to leave and by the end of July numbers had dropped with around ten being seen at any one time, house martins however, increase in number this time of year, as they come together in a large group prior to migration together. Currently around fifty can be seen here, though they can be here one minute and gone the next.
Four warbler species were ever-present through July – chiffchaff, blackcap, reed warbler and Cetti’s warbler. The first new warbler since spring was whitethroat (5), first seen on the 20th and then a few more times after that.
Despite being absent as a species here for around four years, the nuthatches (6) which arrived in June were still here all through July, being seen or heard almost every day. Two birds have been seen together on a few occasions, particularly in the large Ash tree near the water inlet.
The total number of bird species seen here in July was 63, beating July 2018 by one, but well below the bumper months of July 2016 and 2017 (69 & 66 respectively).
[Photos by Chris Farthing]