October Birding Update from Steve Waite [Thanks again, Steve!]
Despite the unusually mild start to the autumn, the birds know the season is changing, as do the trees with leaves dropping in some quantity over the last half of the month.
It’s been a really exciting month for birds, with the first Redwings and Fieldfares of the winter noted, along with a single fly over Brambling on the last day of the month. A couple of Redpolls have been lingering around the area, and for the entire month the alders at the bottom of the Ponds have hosted a beautiful flock of up to 45 Siskin. The flock consists of both the bright yellow males (pictured left), and much browner streaky females, and are often mixed in with Goldfinches that are also feeding high in the alders.
The willows usually contain flocks of feeding Long-tailed Tits, often accompanied by Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and other species of tit. These birds flock up at this time of year, it helps with the feeding but also offers them safety in numbers.
On the water it would appear the parent Mute Swans have chased away their young now, which is far earlier than last season, and Teal and Wigeon have been noted among the Mallards on the top pond. A real surprise on the 12th was this usual duck, identified as a Gadwall x Mallard hybrid (pictured below, the bird with the brown and green head). Not something the observer has ever seen before!