EARLY MORNING ARRIVALS
Another mild but overcast morning in Coleshill brought some excellent early morning sightings. Not quite Eastern Crowned Warbler standard but good all the same.
By 8:30 a few small flocks of Redwing had passed over, their 'tsseep' calls heard long before they appeared over the tops of the trees and heading in a northerly direction, this continued for about 15 minutes with numbers no bigger than 10-15 birds in each flock heading over. By 9:00am it was relatively quiet with the exception of 2 calling Nuthatches and a good flock of 20 or more Goldfinches feeding in the garden, they seemed to be favouring a number of wild Rose bushes and presumably were feeding on seeds or hips on the bushes. Shortly after 9:00am I was alerted again to the 'tsseep' calls and looked up to see a flock of about 50 Redwing going overhead which were shortly followed by another flock of the same size, this continued for about 5 or 6 minutes with groups passing over at about 30 second intervals and my rough tally came to about 350+. Once the Redwing flocks had passed over I could soon hear the 'chattering calls of Fieldfare, my first of the Winter here and an impressive sight of about 150+ birds heading northwards behind the Redwing, they were soon gone and following up were a few lone individuals of both Fieldfare and a few Redwing. Some of the Redwing had come down in one of the trees and leaving my gardening duties I wandered off to have a quick look, 8 were sat in one of the tops of a Chestnut tree in the garden and calling constantly but their arrival hadn't gone unnoticed and one of the local Mistle Thrushes obviously took dislike to them being on his patch. The Mistle Thrush looked eager to safeguard his supply of Rowan and Cotoneaster berries which were now under threat from the advancing invaders and promptly saw them off, up they went and headed off to the north. I was quite pleased at seeing the Winter Thrushes passing over in such vigour and having worked in the Hambleden Valley in previous Winters couldn't recall ever seeing an influx like this in such a sort time, not quite thousands but a pretty impressive sight all the same.
I wandered back to continue my endless task of picking up the leaves in the garden(yawn) but instantly picked up on what I knew was a bird of prey calling, It was fairly distant and sounded similar to a Kestrel at first but slightly deeper in tone but getting louder every second. All of a sudden I could hear the wing clapping of a flock of Wood Pigeons as they took to the air, they had flushed from the trees in an adjacent field and were now approaching overhead rapidly splintering in to small groups as if they were being pursued, within seconds I could see why as a stocky looking Falcon appeared gliding over the trees. I had to pinch myself at first as I couldn't believe it, a PEREGRINE in all it's glory right above me, the broad based and long pointed wings clear to see as it drifted over uttering it's shrill 'kek-kek-kek' call. It's was deep chested which could be seen as it glided round in a circle overhead at about 50ft before circling round and heading north with fast shallow wing beats. By it's size it had to be a female and in pretty good condition by the looks of it, perhaps one of the birds that is seen at the nearby Springfield Tip area. I've seen them pretty regularly over the last few years but never had such a good view as today, I was gobsmacked and although I know they're becoming more common it's still an exceptional garden tick!
By lunchtime I had also seen
3 very vocal Jays,
4 Song Thrushes,
2 Mistle Thrushes
1 Unidentified Warbler-most probably Chiffchaff
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker,
1 Common Buzzard & a passing Kestrel.
And later in the day
1 Little Owl sat in an Oak tree calling, late afternoon.
2 M&F Tawny Owls calling early eve.