Today, surely, is the day when it all happens. The day I'm watching a Shrike, just above the Redstart, when a Wryneck pops out and I'm distracted by a passing Monties.
I've been out almost daily recently, and I'm getting into a decent rhythm. Taking more time, just standing watching the bushes. I've had a couple of Spotted Flycatchers, regular Lesser Whitethroat, and the Little Owl and Kingfisher have been refreshingly active. Willow Chiffs have been again in decent numbers with some Chiff-chaff singing, and Blackcaps are still active. Green Woodpeckers number about 5 round the patch including young ones, there's Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker in the woods and Buzzard overhead, Bullfinches and Greenfinches in the hedgerows, but these are all the standard sightings.
More irregular birds have been a Peregrine through from the south on 22nd, a patch first for me, a Ring-Necked Parakeet in a tree, a Hobby scything through and a leisurely Red Kite over the park on 29th, a Swift on 31st may have been the last of the year, and a smashing Whinchat in the overgrown Little Owl field 1st September, so there is migration action.
Then last night we had a sudden thunderstorm. It was light up like bonfire night with rain bouncing off the roads and thunder rumbling all around. Surely no self-respecting migrant would fly through that? Despite the lack of appropriate winds I set of with my scope confident of bushes heaving with Shrikes, Starts, Wrynecks etc.
There was a Spotted Flycatcher on the edge of the park, being given grief by a Chiffchaff that tried to spoil every sally from the wires. The Kingfisher was calling loudly and I got to see its rear end a couple of times as it motored away. The Little Owl, often just a fluffy child's toy discarded on a low branch, was this time busy flying around from perch to perch, and although I was at a distance it always seemed to be looking directly at me. Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting were on the patch, and a Cetti's Warbler song was the first for a few months. A first for the year was Jay with an acorn in its beak.
So a decent walk. Lots to admire, but not the big one. That'll be along soon for sure. And when it comes, you can read about it here.