There were small signs that return migration is finally getting going, with the first ♂ Whinchat and Willow Warbler on the patch this autumn. A Hobby was seen, hunting birds around Grange Farm again.
1 ♂ Whinchat
1 Willow Warbler
30 House Martin
(Tail-less!) ♂ Whinchat 25/7/12
Todays Whinchat was in advanced moult and had lost/moulted all it's tail feathers, with the new tail feathers just beginning to show underneath the uppertail-coverts. It had also moulted some wing feathers, with the first pair of fresh replacement inner tertials showing. Adult Whinchat undergo a complete post breeding moult in late summer (late July onwards) which is usually completed in September, before southbound migration starts.
Willow Warbler 25/7/12
The first returning Willow Warbler this autumn spent most of it's time chasing off the c30 House Martins that were gathering on the power lines!