Although it is now autumn and the berries are in profusion on the bushes (rosehips, blackberries, hawthorn, & sloes) the bright sun and warm air of the morning gave the day a spring-like feel. The birds too were in ‘spring’ mood and there was much birdsong, but unfortunately we couldn’t see them, as there was still a lot of leaf cover, and were unable to identify many of their songs. The wildflowers are fewer and some we spotted were quite faded, the poppies for example, which should have finished flowering well over a month ago.
Some mud was exposed in the river but few birds fed there. The Little Grebes have returned to the marina, having not been sighted since February. On the northern margins of the marina clumps of Japanese Knotweed have taken hold. This is slightly off our normal route but had recently been spotted (and reported) by a group member so we deviated to look, and record it. We came across a yellow wildflower that we initially thought was the Ragwort we regularly see but the leaves differed and perusing books later we believe it to be Oxford Ragwort. Had it not been for the extensive mowing, including along the seawall, we may have seen many more flowers.
We rarely see a Kestrel here and the previous sightings were last year in September and December so it was pleasing to see one several times as it hovered and dived for its prey. The reed bed area still attracts a lot of wildlife and although we recorded just two goldfinches there were many more chattering in the bushes. We found a ladybird with four spots and identified it as a two-spot ladybird, which apparently can have 2, 4 or 6 spots.
It was such a nice day that we spent three hours walking our route.
The next ‘Our Patch’ outing is on Friday 28th October 14.30 – Marina Car Park (note the change of date)
Birds: (numbers in brackets indicate the highest number seen in one sighting) Robin 4 (1), Blackbird 5 (1), Goldfinch 2 (1), Swallows 2 (2) Magpie 12 (5), Wood Pigeon 33 (16), Chiffchaff 1, Crow 2 (2), Moorhen 1, Black-headed Gull 14 (12), Egret 1, Pied Wagtail 7 (4), Starlings 28 (18), Great tit 1, Lapwing 2 (2), Sparrow 9 (8), Little Grebe 3 (3), Kestrel 1,
Flowers: Creeping Thistle, Wild Carrot, Common Fleabane, Bristly Ox-tongue, Mallow, Dandelion, Yarrow, Red Clover, White Clover, Smooth Hawksbeard, Field Poppy, Autumn Hawkbit, Scented Mayweed (Wild Chamomile), Greater Plantain, Ribwort Plantain, Bindweed, Great Willowherb, Japanese Knotweed (reported), Lucerne, Bristly Ox-tongue.
Other: 7-spot Ladybird, 2-spot Ladybird Grasshopper, Dragonfly, Rabbit, Hover Fly, Harlequin Ladybird, Red Admiral Butterfly, Devil’s Coach Horse, Caterpillar (unidentified)