However, Spring passage basically didn't happen for me. Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Redstart, Whinchat and Sand Martin all failed to materialise. As for something rarer even dropping in, no chance. I all but gave up.
So it was hardly with any great enthusiasm that I viewed the start of Autumn passage. However, over the last couple of weeks, there have been a few species dropping in that have at least helped slightly in balancing the yearly birding accounts.
First up on August 30th was a Single Spotted Flycatcher flitting from tree to telegraph wires down one of the lanes. Usually I get a family party dropping in somewhere in Autumn, but this year, just one, and later than the previous two Autumns ( 10/8/2013 and 23/8/2014 ). Better late than not at all, although that seems to be the way it is headeing.
The following day, a red letter day, a lovely male Redstart, a sadly rare county bird of late. Only my third ever on the patch, the only other Autumnal one 3 years ago, August 19th 2012.
A trio of good ticks was completed when a Whinchat was found by TMH on 3rd September. Thankfully it hung around for me to eventually relocate it a bit further along the hedgeline that evening. The last one I saw there was 2012.
The final patch rarity to report is a Stonechat near the waterworks on 11th September. A male. Although not a year tick due the long staying winter bird, its only the 3rd record I have for the patch, the other being October 2013.
Birding is all about context, and its fair to say that the last 2 weeks have been significant in terms of helping put some sort of quality back into this years patch passage records. Despite scanning Hirundines for a Sand Martin, I'm as yet to sort out that glaring miss, and whilst it feels like increasingly slim pickings on the patch, the irony is that I need 'just' 3 more species to beat my previous best year total.......