Friday, 15 March 2013

March 14th

Certainly a nice bright morning and the birds knew it, 15 GOLDFINCH whizzed around the veg garden, where a YELLOWHAMMER sung. From here I could hear NUTHATCH and GREEN WOODPECKER, the fields below held SKYLARK, COMMON GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL, REDWING, FIELDFARE, BULLFINCH and loads of PHEASANTS that appear to have escaped the gun until the winter maybe!
View from the car park

Robin in song

The lake was partially frozen and a couple each of MALLARD and MOORHEN were the only signs of life, just in the wood a small flock comprised SISKIN, LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, GREAT TIT and a MARSH TIT. Heading back to the car a GREY WAGTAIL flew over and a KESTREL blended in well with the oak it sat in.
Cryptic Kestrel

A bit closer

Driving home from work the setting sun caught my eye

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Second guided walk of the year!

This mornings start was 8.30am, as we introduced ourselves 3 CANADA GEESE flew over, it was colder than yesterday with that fresh easterly breeze but still 21 of us set off. Obviously there were lots of birds the same as yesterday but the first different one was a year tick for me on the patch 6 GOLDEN PLOVER (68) flew NE. We had a good views of GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, before half the group also caught a glimpse of the wintering WATER RAIL. Further round the lake MARSH TIT, GOLDCREST and a couple of confiding TREECREEPER were seen. GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL (69) was the next addition to the year list, the rest of the woodland walk was relatively quiet and a coffee break beckoned for a warm and some sustenance. After coffee, with a just a handful of brave souls, we headed out into the fields, here we added ROOK, KESTREL, GREY HERON, 10 REED BUNTING plus YELLOWHAMMER and COMMON GULL, also round the fields 3 distant BUZZARDS were seen and a flock of 14 SKYLARKS.
Once again, thank you to all those who turned up in the less than inviting conditions, 46 species were seen or heard today.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

First guided walk of the year

A great turn out this morning in the mist, 22 people met Pete and I in the car park between 5.30 and 5.45. A few BLACKBIRDS and ROBINS sung as we left headed out around the estate. It was a slowish start unsurprisingly but gradually we added a few bits STOCK DOVE, a calling KINGFISHER, SISKINS flew over and just a couple GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS drummed. A little flurry of activity as we left the wood added GOLDCREST and TREECREEPER, also a BUZZARD called from out of the mist. As we left Park Field a sharp-eyed lady picked out a LITTLE OWL that then got mobbed by MISTLE THRUSHES, GREENFINCHES and BLACKBIRDS. A NUTHATCH performed well as it sung from the top of an Oak. By breakfast we had reached around the 40 species mark. After breakfast it was into the fields, SKYLARKS sung almost constantly and a nice male BULLFINCH was seen in one of the hedges. REED BUNTING, YELLOWHAMMER, MEADOW PIPIT and best of all was a flyover MEDITERRANEAN GULL (66) with 2 BLACK HEADED GULLS. Near the end of the walk a MARSH TIT gave good views to just a few of us and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL made it 49 species for the walk. After everybody left, while Pete and I chatted briefly by the moat, a KINGFISHER whizzed by. I decided on another look round the wood this produced a very unexpected third goose species of the morning in the form of 150 BRENT GEESE (67) flying NE!! the first I've seen here for some years. I added KESTREL, JAY and BRAMBLING to the list before heading home, ending with 53 species for the morning, very pleasing considering the conditions. Talking to Stephen as I left he had a GOLDEN PLOVER as well this morning.
Thank you to everybody who joined the walk this morning you all made it very enjoyable :-)

No pics today so here is one from Tuesday morning.

Blue Tit

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A couple of nice mornings

Once again not loads to report but it was great to see the sun and again hear the birds in full voice. Yesterdays highlights were hearing the LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER and finally working out what the thudding noise was I keep hearing down by the lake! It sounded like a Rabbit thumping the ground but was going on to long, peering through the trees into the field, I found the source a GREEN WOODPECKER making a mess of the beehives, tapping away and resonating in the little valley.
Today again the birds weren't spectacular although again a CORN BUNTING was definitely not to be sniffed at a really good bird here. There was a small flock of gulls mainly Common and a nice flock of 22 MEADOW PIPITS. The light was great this morning and lent itself to a few pics.

Blue Tit

Park Field

Meadow Pipit

Corn Bunting

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The last week and a different approach.....

Visits again have been sparse but here is a quick run down. Away from the birds I saw a Mink on the top lake, unfortunately! a Fox was distant but well out in the open and looking extremely fine and today I found my first Newt of the year, I'm afraid I'm not great at identifying newts but I can't help looking for them as I go passed any of the ponds round the patch.
The birds have been, as expected, not too diverse but 3-5 GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER drummed yesterday morning which was nice and at least 3 GREEN WOODPECKER called. SKYLARKS are in full song and always a pleasure to hear and the YELLOWHAMMER and CHAFFINCH flock is still around and has still got good numbers, maybe 50-70 birds total. The hedges held 2 groups of BULLFINCH one group had 3 birds and the other 4. FIELDFARE and REDWING are gathering in mixed flocks of 150-200 birds at times or at other times spread themselves thinly over the array of fields. 10 SISKIN flew over the wood yesterday which was probably the highlight of yesterdays walk.


This morning as I got out of the car a GREY WAGTAIL (65) flew over, it took me until autumn to see one last year. Today was the day I tried out my new approach, which I will do sporadically throughout the year, I expect to get some funny looks!! Well more than usual anyway. I have bought myself a one an hide!! that folds up and can be carried like a rucksack. Today was it's first outing, so I headed to the stream to look for a likely spot for a Kingfisher to pose!! 2 hrs later and losing the feeling in my feet I gave up after seeing a BLACKBIRD, WREN and a ROBIN. I could hear lots but with a limited view struggled to see anything. Despite the failure of getting any photos at all I will try again and give it more time, who knows?
Luckily later I went for a walk with Bec and did see a few more birds which included 150-200 BLACK HEADED GULLS with a few COMMON GULLS for company, the highlight was 2 PEREGRINE together over the fields, we also had a displaying COMMON BUZZARD, plus 1 KESTREL and 1 SPARROWHAWK.