Today's visit to the patch was an odd one. When I first arrived I popped to Stanklyn paddocks to check for the Redstart. I spent some time there but there was no sign. Feeling that there had been a bit of a clear out of migrant birds I headed over to the ploughed field on Back Lane to check if the Wheatears were still present...again there was no sign. My feeling was correct.
I then headed over to nearby Witch Lane where the only notables were 4 Swallows and 2 Common Buzzards.
Next stop was Heath Lane which, apart from a Robin on the hedgerow of the paddock, was devoid of birds. The only other thing of note here was a Green-veined White butterfly.
I fared no better at Stanklyn Lane for birds but at least I saw 3 (2♂, 1♀) Orange Tip butterflies.
It was at this point, as the tumbleweed drifted past, I coined the expression Shenstonus moribundi.
I was pretty close to throwing in the towel for the day but the voice of the patch obsessive inside my head was saying "just check the Butts Lane area...you never know what you might be missing". As Butts Lane was the last major area of the patch I hadn't covered I dutifully trudged over there...and I'm glad I did.
I parked up at Barrs Lane and began walking my circuit across the fields and back along the lane. The first thing that struck me was the fantastic sound of a Willow Warbler singing from the grounds of Stone Manor...result! a patch year tick. Shortly afterwards, as the sky was darkening from the impending storm, 3 House Martins came over...another year tick. The day was suddenly getting better and it was topped of by a cracking ♂ Northern Wheatear that was stood not too far away on the recently scuffled ground. I also noted a Small White butterfly nearby.
In addition to these I noted a singing Blackcap, a singing Chiffchaff, 2 Common Buzzards, a ♂ Kestrel and a flyover Grey Heron at Butts Lane, making this area of the patch the most productive by a long chalk. I'm glad I listened to that voice in my head after all.