Boughton Park and Wierton Hill Farm August 2016



After heavy rain late on the 1st and early on the 2nd, the first half of the month was essentially dry, hot at times, with variable amounts of cloud and wind, as high pressure dominated. Rain fell before dawn on the 26th but it became hot and dry again for a few days. Frontal systems crossed the country but very little rain fell in the southeast and high pressure at the end of the month kept the weather dry and warm.


Nine plus two Mallard are just visible

Dense fog blighted the three-hour early visit on the 30th, when flocks of 13 and 11 Mallard were just visible on the reservoir and lake respectively. A Kingfisher flew over the reservoir into the fog and for a change, at least five Robins were heard uttering calls or snatches of song, a Chiffchaff also sang and two others were seen, along with a female or juvenile Blackcap.


The visit on the 29th was in sunny conditions, with a light northwesterly breeze and most interest was centred on the reservoir, where a Kingfisher perched conveniently, a migrant Reed Warbler was seen in the bed of greater reedmace and six Swallows circled over from Peens Lane.


It was mainly cloudy, with a moderate strength southwesterly on the 28th and light showers later in the morning. Duck numbers increased to 30, with 15 Mallard on the lake again and 13 plus the pair of Aylesbury on the reservoir – each of the Aylesbury mate with their respective Mallards, hence their mention. Two Grey Herons circled low over the area for a while and three juvenile LBB Gulls flew SW. Two family parties of Spotted Flycatchers were present, one along the rarity hedge wires and the other in the oaks northwest of the lake again, where a Coal Tit also called, but the only warblers were again a Chiffchaff in song and four other singles.


There was a hazy blue sky on the 27th, with a northeasterly breeze and the temperature rose from 18°C to 24°C during the three-hour visit from 8 am. Unusually, 15 Mallard were present on the lake, with just seven and the two Aylesbury ducks on the reservoir, where the highlight of the visit was a Clouded Yellow. A mixed flock, feeding high in the oaks north of the lake, flitted about rapidly and disappeared before all species were identified, but  at least three Chaffinches, two Spotted Flycatchers, two Blue Tits, a Treecreeper and a Coal Tit were noted.


There was rain during the early hours of the 26th but the cloud soon cleared and it became hot and sunny again. During a two-and-a-half-hour visit little of interest was noted, apart from a Chiffchaff and two juvenile Spotted Flycatchers – begging for food. Also there were 15 Mallard and the two Aylesbury ducks on the reservoir, with about eight Moorhens and just two Mallard on the lake. A juvenile Blackbird was also seen and Bob saw a Reed Warbler among the reservoir reeds.

A visit of just under two-hours on the 21st produced just 23 species, including a Chiffchaff but no other warblers, a family party of at least five Mistle Thrushes – my first this month – and at least one Coal Tit in a mixed flock of tits, plus a Nuthatch around the lake pines, was all I noted.

Another ninety-minute visit on the 19th, in foggy conditions, produced nothing of note.

Only a ninety-minute visit was possible early on the 18th, when a sprinkling of warblers were present around the reservoir, including two each of BlackcapLesser WhitethroatChiffchaff and a Whitethroat , plus a frustrating glimpse of a possible Reed Warbler, which refused to reappear.


It was cloudless, with a light northeasterly breeze during the visit on the 17th, when no additions to the census were seen, apart from my first Migrant Hawker. A Lesser Whitethroat flew from the island to the car park damson hedge and a Spotted Flycatcher was seen in one of the Deer Parks central oaks.

The 16th was chosen for the monthly census, as the weather was settled . It was almost cloudless and still as dawn broke but a northeasterly breeze rose during the eight-hour visit and high, scattered cloud soon appeared. In the churchyard from 0425 two Tawny Owls were heard hooting, with a third from the reservoir. A Grey Heron called and three were seen flying very high SW. Six warbler species were eventually seen, including two Willow Warblers and both Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat in the rarity hedge. A party of five LT Tits was a first for the month, three Coal Tits fed in the northern larches in the Deer Park but Kestrel, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Starling and Treecreeper were not seen, so the total of just 41 species was the lowest for August, compared with the thirty-one year mean of 50. Similarly just 245 birds was also the lowest for August, compared with the mean of 577.


The 15th commenced cloudless, almost still and cool at 10°C but it soon warmed up and a northeasterly breeze rose, bringing scattered clouds. The visit started well when a Wheatear alighted on a Peens Lane telephone wire, surprisingly the first since 2012. At least four Chiffchaffs were seen, along with a Willow Warbler and two Blackcaps, as well as a juvenile Bullfinch at last.


Three Swallows fed over the temporary grass, where a flock of 55 Jackdaws was also present, and eleven BH Gulls, including one juvenile, visited the reservoir. Bob also saw a Cormorant flying high over the patch. Insects included another Small Red-eyed Damselfly at the reservoir and a female Common Blue near the marsh alders.


There was little change during the visit on the 14th under a cloud-covered sky, with a light northerly wind. A family party of Linnets was seen again near the fisherman’s car park but the pollen-covered Bee remains unidentified.


It was similarly quiet on the 13th, with even less species, among which was a Lesser Whitethroat. However, among the insects photographed was the first Small Blue for the patch.


 My first visit was on the 12th, when little of interest was noted among the 28 species recorded, apart from one Willow Warbler. However, several insects were noted, including my first male Common Darter.

With the wind in the northwest on the 10th, it felt decidedly cooler, even with intermittent sunshine and only nineteen species were noted during a short ninety-minute visit, when two Grey Herons flew over the Deer Park.

Under a mainly blue sky on the 8th, it felt cooler in a westerly wind, as a circuit of the reservoir produced two each of Common and Lesser Whitethroats, a Willow Warbler and a female Peregrine, which flew west and five Buzzards circled high overhead. A second Willow Warbler was feeding with the mixed flock in the Deer Park, which included juvenile Coal Tits. A peak count of 19 Mallard, included just three on the lake.

It felt humid on the 7th, under cloud cover being blown northeast. A Sparrowhawk circling over the reservoir and a party of six LT Tits were both firsts for the month, but apart from one Common Whitethroat and three Buzzards circling over the Deer Park it was another relatively quiet visit.

It was warm and bright, with little wind on the 6th, when a Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were seen around the reservoir. A family party of Blackcaps, at the southern end of the rarity hedge, included young still being fed. A Cormorant and one Herring Gull were seen flying over.

It was bright, sunny and warm on the 5th, when the churchyard produced two Goldcrests, a Coal Tit and 11 Goldfinches. The Spotted Flycatchers were seen again in the lake oaks, with Nuthatch, tits and the bonus of a Treecreeper. Arrival at the reservoir coincided with a small movement of Swallows and a House Martin. A good variety of insects included 10 butterfly and seven dragonfly species, including the first Small Red-eyed Damselfly.

The 4th was brighter, with a moderate strength southwesterly, when a Grey Heron flew around the reservoir before flying off E. A Blackcap was the first for the month, a family party of six LBB Gulls flew SW and 10 Greylag Geese flew line abreast over the Deer Park, where a mixed feeding party, in the oaks north of the lake, included the Spotted Flycatcher family again, with a Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Blue Tits and Chaffinches.

A mid-morning visit on the 2nd, once the rain ceased, was under low clouds, with a breezy southwest wind. At least two Swifts and a Sand Martin were seen flying into the wind but little else was of note.

The 1st was cloudy and cooler than late July but more birds were visible around the reservoir, including the first migrant Willow Warbler, several Chiffchaffs, a Common Whitethroat, plus the welcome sight of a Kingfisher.