Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Mill Hill (05 October 2016)

Wednesday 5th October. The forecast of a strong cold easterly wind rather put me off going to Beachy so I decided to try Mill Hill instead. When I arrived at sunrise good numbers of Swallows were already flying east, a Goldcrest was calling nearby and 3 small thrushes flew over rather distantly. Twenty minutes into my normal walk, along the low western path, 4 large long-winged thrushes dropped out of the sky from the NW, called and landed out of sight below me - superb Ring Ouzels including a smart male. They emerged giving fleeting views feeding on berries before moving into thicker cover. Chiffchaff and particularly Blackcap numbers were down on my previous visit with 11 and 2 respectively but I saw a Stonechat, 15 Song Thrushes, 3 Goldcrests and a Jay with a total of 220 Swallows, 23 House Martins and 20 Meadow Pipits flying east. Later Megan and I spent two hours on the Downs walking our usual Chantry Hill/Lee Farm circuit seeing two more Ring Ouzels (at Kithurst Hill and south of Chantry Hill), 45 Swallows, 8 House Martins, 70 Meadow Pipits, 10 Pied Wagtails, single Stonechat and Wheatear, 11 Chiffchaffs, 2 Ravens, a Reed Bunting and 105 pretty stupid Red-legged Partridges. The bright sunny weather and varied field use made for a very scenic walk but one without a single raptor, presumably due to the strong wind as these days I would expect Red Kite and Buzzard to be bankers.

Ring Ouzel at Mill Hill, a firm favourite of mine and always much anticipated
early morning and a very slow shutter speed (1/30th)

Buzzard leaving Mill Hill
Stonechat at Kithurst Hill 
SW from Kithurst Hill
Wheatear at Chantry Hill

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