Saturday, 5 September 2009

Migration Alert!

Above, an unusual visitor to the nut feeder arrived in the form of this nice Red Admiral butterfly. Below, Starlings -adult on the left, juvenile on the right, gradually replacing the brown juvenile feathers with black adult type ones:
Being early September and a glorious sunny morning I am up early to scour the birdless fields for the holy grail of Cuddesdon birding: a migrant species. Of absolutely any species whatsoever... please, just one. Instead I am rewarded with roadkill, this freshly dead Muntjack deer in the village surrounded by bits of plastic from the vehicle which killed it:
I head up the to The Farmhouse pond where juvenile Chiffchaffs, House Martins and Swallows are reminders that we are not long out of the breeding season, before a high pitched call from the water rings out: "Little Grebe?" I ask, before peering over the bushes, "yes!". In fact there are 2 Little Grebes, my first for the area:
A good start. I linger over the views to the south-west - the clumps of trees on the two hills to the left are Wittenham Clumps, 6 miles away, while the very distant wood to the right of the horizon is on the Oxon downs escarpment, 15 miles away:
I am brought back to reality by the prescence of the farmer who begins spraying the field around the pond, time to move on.
I work my way around the fences by parkside, checking the wires for migrant Whinchats and the fields for Wheatears but as is always the case, Cuddesdon is birdless. Until a movement in a recently ploughed field catches my eye:
WHEATEAR!!!! A migrant passerine species in Cuddesdon!! Yeeeeessssss!!
In fact there are 2 Wheatears here, a male (bottom right) and a distant female (top left).
Male Wheatear, above. Female, below:
Without doubt the birding highlight of Birdless Cuddesdon to date, and 2 new species for the recording area bring the total to 82 species... and counting.

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