At last this morning the rain and wind eased enough to attempt a spot of birding, and although there was still a stiff, cold breeze there was a hint of sunshine. After a couple of birdingless days it was do or die for yours truly.
I decided to give Fluke Hall the once over. There’s the shore, the wintry fields, the woodland and a good number of hedgerows, all worth a look for lingering signs of winter and maybe one or two hints of Spring.
In the field behind the car park were 5 Pied Wagtails and a tight feeding flock of 70+ very flighty Twite, the birds taking to the air at the slightest disturbance. Close by a close relative of theirs a Linnet was in good singing voice from the hedgerow with both Goldfinch and Greenfinch singing from the trees above.
There’s a pair of Kestrels on territory and it looks like the Buzzards are back after going missing for a few weeks or more. A pair of Mistle Thrushes made lots of noise; I watched as they joined forces to chase off a third bird intent on being in their territory.
The Mistle Thrush, the largest of our UK thrushes is renowned for being aggressive in defending both a feeding territory and a nest, and only in autumn migration time are they likely to be seen in smallish flocks. Mistle Thrushes are regularly chronicled attacking Nest Recorders and bird ringers who stray close to an active nest. The noisy, rattling attack they employ against trespassers must be quite disconcerting to anyone not in the know.
A Great-spotted Woodpecker flew calling from the trees but no sign today of the Nuthatch which has been around all winter. Today saw a pair of Stock Dove, hole nesting birds and a regular breeding species here. Thankfully the wood here is not overly managed in the modern way of removing the rotten trees that birds favour for nesting by either making or using existing holes.
The still wet fields held lots of waders with upwards of 550 Golden Plover, 130 Lapwing, 60 Dunlin, 30 Redshank, 24 Oystercatcher and 4 Black-tailed Godwit. It was a bit too cold and blustery for Skylark song with just 3 birds noted plus 6 Meadow Pipit and 1 Pied Wagtail.
Near Lane Ends a Buzzard crossed the road and a Kestrel hovered, circled and hovered again. Beyond Gulf Lane and Sand Villa several thousand Pink-footed Geese were scattered across the fields too distant to study or count with any degree of accuracy but “3500+” was the notebook entry.
At windswept Conder Green a Robin said “hello” while the reliable Spotted Redshank and 70+ Teal proved the climax. Otherwise just 2 Goosander, 2 Little Grebe and single Goldeneye the also-rans.
Thrushes were the highlight of Thurnham with a pair of Mistle Thrush along a line of trees plus 28 Redwing and 4 Fieldfare feeding in the wet fields with c 70 Starlings. Four Little Egrets on a flood.
If the forecast of a falling wind speed is correct Andy and I might finally get a crack at some ringing tomorrow. If so log in to Another Bird Blog tomorrow for an update and pictures.