I'll skip the usual 'my blog hasn't been updated for 3 weeks because of...' rigmarole. You don't care. You want to know what I've seen, not why I've failed to see it.
Had a wander round Ingrebourne this afternoon in the sporadic Essex sunshine. Took the camera, but mostly photographed clouds. Plenty of signs of viz mig and impending winter among the birds. Had several groups of Martins fattening themselves up for the long trip home, a flock of about 40 Goldfinches flying bush to bush, and about 30 Teal in eclipse on the lake. Learned a new flight call when a Skylark passed overhead (and I picked up the skylark on flight style, which makes me happy). Also got a nice close view of a male Great Spot, who sat happily in his tree while I got unbelievably close below him.
Apart from the usual Carrion Crows, the bird I saw most of today was Jays, all seemingly flying back and forth between the same 2 locations over and over again, and in one of the better views I got one of them very clearly had a large nut in its bill. Storing up food. It's really not far off now.
Most exciting bird today was a lone Snipe, which I called on flight pattern (basically crazy and all over the place) before it turned to give a decent profile view. It's difficult to get visible and definite signs that your birding is improving, and picking up birds on flight style is something I was never particularly good at so it's quite morale boosting to be doing it reliably at last.
Also, if anyone knows their Fungi, I could use a hand with this one.