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Saturday, September 26, 2015

September ins and outs down my way, young swallows venture south and the finches move in.

September .. the summer crops are gathered in and wild flowers are blooming their last. Nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping, cricket's days are done and rugby takes centre stage, and small birds of many species are moving south .....


Almost all of the Swallows around Fangfoss Park have now departed, slightly earlier than last year when I had good numbers well into the last week of September and then the odd late straggler into the first week of October. Their long and often hazardous flight down to sub Saharan Africa must be a daunting one for all this year's young ones and, although many other birds undertake the self same amazing journey, there is something endearingly magical about the annual departure of these vulnerable looking wee birds.

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Barn Swallow, Strensall Common, 10/09/15 

These youngsters were 2 of many that were massing together on Strensall Common a couple of weeks ago and obviously getting ready to go. They'll be well on their way now, their journey time south to Africa is a lot more leisurely than the dash back north in the Spring and these 2 can be reasonably confident of catching flies under South African skies within a couple of months but my they look so fragile!

Barn Swallow, Strensall Common, 10/09/15

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Blackcap, Fangfoss, 21/09/15

Departure time from Europe for many other birds too, including many warblers using the UK as a convenient stop off point and feeding station. The many hedgerows around my local patch here in Fangfoss have held many Willow Warblers, ChiffChaffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps over the past few weeks and even a couple of Lesser Whitethroats ... sadly not able to photograph the latter but as with my Whinchat of a couple of weeks ago a welcome new species for the area.

Willow Warbler, Fangfoss, 22/09/15

Spotted Flycatchers bred here this year and this may be one of the youngsters but could equally be another individual on passage ... it was in amongst a roving group of tits and warblers.

Spotted Flycatcher, Fangfoss, 15/09/15
Lesser Redpoll, Fangfoss, 21/09/15

There's a lot of fruit laden hedgerows around the countryside at the moment and all worthy of a look if you're looking for migrants (and I don't mean Syrians!). Just as the warblers, chats and flycatchers feed up on this seasonal feast before heading south, other birds are arriving on our shores either to stay or in transit - Blackbirds, Robins and assorted finches have all increased in numbers of late and a small flock of Lesser Redpolls in amongst the more numerous Goldfinches is a sure sign of the changing season ...

Lesser Redpoll, Fangfoss, 21/09/15
Goldfinch, Strensall Common,

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No Redwings or Fieldfares have made it this far inland as yet but a steady increase in Blackbird numbers, like this one gorging on Elderberries.

Good to see some healthy flocks of Lapwings back in the fields too ...

Lapwings, Fangfoss, 15/09/15
I'm glad my Aug 24th Honey Buzzard sighting finally made it onto the Flamborough bird observatory site here - It was the highlight of my day too, even though I had to study the pictures before I realised what it was!

Back here in the Yorkshire Wolds our own Common Buzzards seem to go from strength to strength with up to 8 in my immediate vicinity.

Common Buzzard, Fangfoss, 16/09/15

Common Buzzard, Fangfoss, 16/09/15

Lucky shot of this one calling as it swept past me!

Almost certainly I'll be heading out to the coast soon to catch some more visible migration ... maybe an October trip out to Spurn when the winter thrushes start coming in, but in truth I'm more than happy walking the lanes and hedgerows of my own patch!

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