Back to Priest Hill
The UK autumn may really have started several weeks ago (with failed or non-breeding adult waders moving through), but in ND&B land we have only just declared the season open! To be honest, once I start to see Harebells, Clustered Bellflowers and Common Toadflax flowering, and Copper Underwings and Flounced Rustics in the MV, then I know that the summer is starting to think about ushering in the autumn. In all reality, this seasonal thing is not straightforward, as they overlap, merge and share many aspects. Serves our right for trying to label and pigeon-hole everything.
Anyway, my sudden acceptance of all things 'autumn' has mainly been driven by my return to Priest Hill SWT Reserve. You may remember that I adopted it as a patch at the end of last autumn, and my time there has been gratefully rewarded, with such highlights as Cattle Egret, Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, many Red Kites, Peregrine, a good passage of Wheatear, Stonechat and Common Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler and a wintering flock of Reed Bunting. I stopped regular observation there in mid-May, and started up again two days ago (25th) with three Willow Warblers being a good start. This morning was about a westerly passage of Swifts (150+), a handful of warblers (possibly all local breeders unlike the Willows), and a noisy feeding flock of 90 Goldfinches. A family party of Meadow Pipits were good to see, two of which are pictured above. A tidy start.