Thursday, November 12, 2009

Half Term

A funny time of year this, autumn migration just about finished, not many thrushes left behind after the big rush and no winter finch flocks yet, all a bit humdrum until or if the weather gets a little colder elsewhere. Those were my thoughts this morning when I was half way across Rawcliffe Moss without seeing anything truly exciting or even large numbers of a species.

Back to the beginning then by collecting a bucket of seed for the feeding station where I bumped into the gamekeeper who recently told me the shoot costs several thousand pounds each year to maintain whereby each member of the syndicate contributes hundreds of pounds. If only birders were so generous towards ensuring their hobby can exist.

At least the Grey Wagtail was in the area of the barn but not so accommodating that it hung around for pictures, therefore the picture below is from a week ago of probably/possibly the same bird. If there is one thing that ringing has taught me it is never to assume that the bird I see today is the same one as yesterday or the one I will see tomorrow.

I parked at the track where in the distance I could see Carrion Crows and Pheasants helping themselves to plenty of expensive Winter Picnic Mix, but the sight of my car door opening was enough to scare them away. The actual food drop point is about two hundred yards from the car so the noise or lack of from the assembled Tree Sparrows is a hint to how many there are; today they were obviously there in numbers. They scattered in groups as I walked the length of the pathway until my count of the combined gangs was a minimum 130, maybe a bit down on recent counts which do vary to a degree. Let’s hope we get to ring some soon and find out the turnover of individual birds.

Also scattered from the hedge by my walk were a dozen Blackbird, a Song Thrush and four Redwing but I didn’t see a single Fieldfare today in my walk. My hopes and prediction of a second wave didn’t happen yet.

It can be difficult to count the Chaffinch at the feeding station as they mix in then fly off with the sparrows in all directions but safe to say at least 15, but by no means the beginning of a winter flock.

I drove up the saturated, muddy moss road to park down in a field entrance, maybe a bit risky after the recent rain, but after a little wheel slippage the old Honda didn’t let me down.

Alongside the road I disturbed a little flock of 30 Goldfinch that twittered off over the plantation, and then over in the same place as weekend, I heard a couple of Grey Partridge rasping away. I walked through Fir Wood, hoping to see some evidence of the weekend’s Tawny Owls and although the Chaffinch “pinked” here and there they didn’t seem to mob anything. Then over at the north side I flushed a Woodcock from the floor which flew directly from the wood to an adjoining wood on the next farm. Here is an old picture of a Woodcock from Singleton Hall in the 1990s.

I walked back to my car through the deserted plantation, just a few Blackbirds and here in the middle of the cool and by now windy moss, a party of 10 -12 Long-tailed Tits searching through the alders. I also searched through some of the denser parts of the new but thriving plantation in the hope of finding one or more of the owls, but all I got was wet socks through my waterproof boots. I found the road again to stand at the car and watch a party of 150ish pinkfeet over as they headed towards St Michaels. Over at Nateby the gathering of crows has now reached several hundred, mostly Carrion Crow with perhaps 10% Jackdaws, where they all seem to spend an awful lot of their time just flying around over the wood calling excitedly, unlike the one below.

I set off back south to park half way along the moss, where my car could act as a hide. Most of the Skylarks from a few weeks ago have gone, just leaving a few to rise from cover now and again, and although I added a single Stonechat and 2 Reed Bunting to the morning tally, it was a pretty quiet session. Then to the south I could see the promised rain clouds heading towards me again. But what a nice way to finish with a super Reed Bunting.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails