Warm autumn sunshine and a calm day. A couple of hours at Newbiggin this morning was in order. A slow walk through the woodland of the mound yielded little, a few Coal Tit though a calling Great Spotted Woodpecker, either a migrant or dispersing individual as they certainly don't breed there, was only my 2nd ever at Newbiggin. Most of the action seemed to be overhead as I walked through the dappled light amongst the trees. A couple of Swallows hawked about and a steady stream of vocal Skylark came from the grassy waste of the ash lagoons and moved over south.
One of yesterday's many threads of discussion was about the habit that many of us, including myself, fall into in autumn of 'bush bashing' as Stewart aptly described it yesterday. A concentration on one type of micro-habitat to the exclusion of others. Keen to redress the balance and put a mark in the huge void where big pipits should be on almost every list I keep I tore my gaze from the ash lagoon scrub and headed out into the juncus punctuated long grass at the heart of the golf course.
It was obvious that there was a significant movement of Skylark as they were lifting from around me every 20m, several Meadow Pipits amongst them. Small groups of 3-4 fed in the rough and aside the drainage ditches, whilst others moved over, some high judging from the calls.
As I crossed an occasional Skylark would slip into song and an echo of spring would pour from the sky. Sadly the big pipit void is staying just as a big a void as it was when I started out as there was not a sniff of anything else apart from the two common species mentioned.
Yesterday's rain has brought an inch or so of standing water to big patches of the golf course and the local Redshank were quick to take advantage with c.20 feeding around the small pools and the adjacent wet grass.
As I headed back to the car a small tribe of Long-tailed Tit cane up from one of the nearby gardens and landed in the few decrepit trees that border the long since abandoned football pitch. The only other migrant of the morning a single Chiffchaff flew with them. It repeatedly flew up as they moved from tree to tree towards one or other of the tits, almost hovering beneath it as it flew.