Tuesday, 22 August 2017

August Doldrums

The rain has mainly abated and the temperature is more or less back to normal during August but this month, as always, is a pretty uneventful one for birds. It's not just that there are fewer birds to view, there is also very little to hear as most birdsong is to do with attracting mates and defending territory during the breeding season and all this has of course mainly come to an end. It's not entirely silent though; as I write this a black redstart is doing its loud and incessant tutting close by and a collared dove is calling from the wood but what's missing is the the birdsong. In the course of a two hour bike ride today I heard quitea few species calling but not a single skylark, blackbird or chaffinch.
For the sake of those, perhaps visitors to Charente, who want to know what to expect in midsummer inn these parts, here is a resumé of that bike ride:
As l left the house mid morning a black redstart was my first bird along with the inevitable house sparrows quickly followed by a green woodpecker calling. Plenty of swallows were flying around as I approached Saint Angeau where a few house martins mixed in with them. A quick pause at the Bonnieure bridge produced a grey wagtail as it often does and then a family of white wagtails was added to the list as I moved back into open country and dropped down towards the dry bed of the Tardoire. A few stonechats were on the power lines and the occasional starling was flying about before a small group of noisy jays put in an appearance.
It was not till I approached Coulgens that I made contact with any further passerines. A narrow strip of woodland held a flock of long-tailed, great and blue tits along with a robin and a (silent) warbler high in the canopy which was probably a willow warbler rather than the much commoner chiffchaff.
It wasn't until this point that blackbird and goldfinch put in an appearance and then a cirl bunting which flew up from the path. The common chaffinch delayed his entrance until La Rochette as did the wren and greenfinch..
Larger birds except for crows and wood pigeons had been even thinner on the ground but I managed to add magpie, kestrel and buzzard in quick succession and that was about it until the family of moorhens greeted me on the pond next my house.
But if this seems a rather underwhelming list take some heart from the fact that elsewhere in the department the following are some of the birds which have been reported in recent days:
Bee eater
Woodchat shrike
Grey partridge
Spotted flycatcher
Pied flycatcher
Wood sandpiper
Short toed eagle
Honey buzzard
Sitting cisticola
Turtle dove

As always, it's a case of being in the right place at the right time.

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