|Female (left) and eclipse drake Teal, Mill Pond, 18/7/2018.|
In terms of the latter, perhaps the biggest suggestion that summer is reaching its end was the arrival of 3 Teal on Mill Pond on the 18th. A common winter sight here, these were the earliest known returners by some 30 days. Hopefully a few more will pass through in the coming weeks, and with them perhaps a Garganey, a particular favourite of mine and a species I'd love to find on patch.
During an enjoyable ringing session with Abel B and Steve C on Tuesday a notable northwesterly movement of 62 Swifts took place, with 3 species of gull (including 14 Black-headed) and 2 Sand Martins (patch rarity) also passing overhead - all suggestions that the seasons are shifting, and whilst a vocal male Yellowhammer is also a reminder of colder times here, this particular chap was probably breeding nearby.
Sadly this colourful Bunting doesn't quite breed in the recording area, but 2018 has blessed the site with plenty of positive news on this front involving other species. Earlier in the year Crossbills and Woodlarks were surprising breeders/attempted breeders, and in the past couple of weeks the long-awaited confirmation that Barn Owls were nesting occurred when an adult was seen carrying food over Allden's Hill (a site they've been recorded regularly this year). Estate workers have suspected a pair have taken up residence around here/the north end of Combe Farm, and hopefully I can check out the area soon to learn more.
On Wednesday a Kingfisher was seen carrying fish to and from Snowdenham House/Bramley Mill - yet another new breeding species since detailed recording began in 2014. Add in a bumper year for Spotted Flycatchers (first fledglings seen this week), the continued Lesser Spotted Woodpecker success and Mill Pond being akin to a creche at present, then perhaps it's not been such a silent few weeks after all.