The morning began as ever, wet and windy. At home I kept one eye on the sky out west until eventually, and just about midday the horizon grew lighter, overhead gave up its dreary hue, the rain petered out and breaks of blue appeared. Hooray! I set off out Rawcliffe way, where fresh air and a spot of birding would be a welcome antidote to the excesses of Christmas and imminent New Year merriment.
It’s very early season but I’m making both a mental and documented record of birds on territory, starting today with roadside Mistle Thrush and Kestrel at Town End en route to the farm. Both are familiar and regular locations so it’s good to see such timely activity with just a few extra minutes of daylight. At the farm entrance road were finches and buntings in very wet maize stubble. Some flew off, others sitting briefly on overhead wires where I clocked them as an unusual mix of 2 Yellowhammer, 3 Corn Bunting, 2 Linnet and 3 Greenfinch.
There was a Green Sandpiper on the flood but even as the car slowed it flew off to a larger area of water not far away. Not a good start to see all the birds fly off, but things did improve.
Down on the farm proper were good numbers of sparrows, finches and buntings - 160+ Tree Sparrows, 7 Yellowhammer, 12 Corn Bunting, 14 Goldfinch, 20+ Chaffinch and 6 Linnet. Feeding in the wet pasture I found 450+ Starlings and 40+ Fieldfare. There are hardly any berries left for Fieldfares so stubble and wet meadowland is now the best option for finding them, very often in the company of Starlings.
My walk continued alongside woods, plantations and hedgerows where I noted 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Buzzard, 40+ Woodpigeon, 5 Stock Dove, a total of 21 Blackbirds and 4 Roe Deer.
I motored back via Pilling Moss, stopping along the way to note 2 roadside Kestrels, 75+ Fieldfare, 140+ Starlings and 1 Buzzard.
Already at 1500 the light was fading and the sun dropping, with a dozen or more Whooper Swans heading west to their roost on Pilling Marsh.
Time to head home and put the bubbly on ice.
Bubbly - Cheers, A Happy and Prosperous New Year
No worries, Another Bird Blog will be back in 2014.