Sorry for being late but this is yesterday’s news from Out Rawcliffe, especially as Another Bird Blog is indoors today during wind and rain, a weather scenario in complete contrast to yesterday’s frost. That’s why we both love and hate the good old British weather - never two days the same.
I’d gone slowly along icy roads on Saturday to check out the feeding station, mainly to see if the Reed Buntings were still in the abandoned wheat crop, and what if anything was visiting the few winter feeders. I had a net going too and caught 6 Chaffinch and 4 Reed Bunting then cursed halfway through when with another net and an earlier start I could probably have doubled the catch and included a Brambling or two. In and around the feeding station were 5 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 22 Reed Bunting, 30+ Chaffinch, 8 Goldfinch, 40+ Skylark and 2 Bramblings, those two a bright male and a dull looking female.
On other parts of the farm I clocked up a single Kestrel, 2 Buzzard, 600 Woodpigeon, 130 Lapwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Pied Wagtail and 40+ Tree Sparrow.
On the way off the farm track I again saw the Little Owl of 2 days ago, in exactly the same tree and stood on virtually the same branch. A little frost and cold weather quickly makes Little Owls spend more time searching out or waiting for food to come by, whereby they invariably use the same or a set of well-tried lookout posts.
At the Fylde’s most trustworthy and traditional site for Fieldfares and Redwings, the hedgerow and trees at the entrance to Rawcliffe Hall, were dozens of the said thrushes, feeding in the tall hawthorns, seemingly playing “chicken” as they flew ahead of each passing vehicle. The blind bend is a dangerous place to stop a car and where in any case the light is always in the wrong direction for photography, and I’m sure that’s why the thrushes use the spot so consistently. Luckily I snapped a few Fieldfares on Friday.
On the way home I saw two extra Mistle Thrushes and 3 more Kestrels, two at Town End, Out Rawcliffe followed by one hovering over the roadside verge near Stalmine. Just as Little Owls become more visible during cold weather, I think the same applies to Kestrels, a state of affairs which is probably due to the simple fact that prey is harder to find during cold and frost, and even more so during times of snow.