A quick afternoon visit to Shardeloes this afternoon produced the following
Passing the cricket pitches 6 Barn Swallows wheeled overhead often making low level sorties to pick up insects off the grass.
The lake held the usual variety of common species, 3 juv Great Crested Grebe with their parents nearby, 8 Little Grebe, 1Ad & 2 juv Mute Swan, 12 Black-headed Gulls. The Canada Geese (40+) seemed to be moving back in numbers to the lake after spending much of the summer along the River Misbourne by Kennet Farm.
Heading along the footpath on the southern edge of the lake. a Chiffchaff was feeding on insects in the hedgerow, I stopped to take a look and soon noticed something out of the corner of my eye, turning as quickly as I could I spotted a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER darting down to the ground and back in to the hedgerow where it sat in full view. It stayed still long enough for me to grab a few photos and then continued to "flycatch" around the hedgerow returning to a few favoured perching spots. It continued to feed from the bushes for over 30 minutes giving great views and was then joined by another, they really are fantastic birds to watch up close. Whilst watching the Flycatchers 2 Chiffchaffs and a juvenile Common Whitethroat made an appearance and a Common Buzzard flew over.
I attempted to try and digiscope the Spotted Flycatchers again but with there now being two it made it very difficult as they often broke off from feeding and chased each other round the bushes and out of sight. I waited patiently and eventually was extremely lucky to get them close together in the same bush, pulling my jacket hood over my head to shield the sun and to see what I was taking a photo of I suddenly could hear a loud humming getting louder and closer. Looking skywards and over the tree line an Avro Lancaster appeared shortly followed by a Spitfire and Hurricane, a very impressive sight to say the least, even better to have a scope handy to watch them cruise across the sky and out of sight. I believe they are a part of the RAF Battle of Britain memorial flight group. I wouldn't have mentioned it but the Lancaster does have a Rolls Royce MERLIN engine!By the time the Battle of Britain Flypast had finished the Flycatchers had vanished and it was time to head of home (Ashley Stowe)