Saturday 29th October
Light S/W breeze, mild, dry, overcast
With autumn drawing to a close I decided to have almost a final-fling at finding something good, and with scarce birds turning up all over the country I set off quite excited today. For a bit of variety I went to Shuart around 7.30am, just before daylight, and set off towards the coast. I could hear Goldcrests in the trees straight away, and they were to be heard in the bushes throughout my walk. If I could have counted accurately i'm sure I would have had a big total. Also quite a few Redwings knocking about, though they are so wary it's not easy to get a photo.
It was really a bit quiet and the early promise seemed to disappear when I realised there weren't that many birds around. There were a few finches flying west, but only small numbers, and nothing like the large flocks seen a few weeks ago. Around the stables were Corn Buntings and stacks of Reed Buntings, plus a few Chaffinches etc but nothing to get relly stuck into.
I walked west along the coast to Coldharbour, enjoying the pleasant weather and very few people about, then returned along the embankment. There was a lovely Wheatear on the beach, and 3 parties of Bearded Tits in the reed beds. A couple of Stonechats were my first for a while, and a single Grey Wagtail flew west.
Eventually I was back at the car at Shuart, so i stopped for a drink and snacks, then set off to Netherhale and Brooksend. Again, there were Goldcrests to be heard, and 2 Crossbills flew overhead at Netherhale, followed shortly after by another 9 birds. Not much else to note, apart from a few Chiffchaffs, but a really nice long walk, lasting over 5 hours.
With the darkness of winter setting in at the beginning and end of the days, there might not be many more autumn birding days left for me this year.