Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ISO Fed Up

Not the perfect morning but at least it didn’t rain, much.

I thought a walk across the moss would be fairly productive, and for someone fairly anti-social like me there aren’t too many people out there, plus I can always hide behind a hedge or the odd tree if I see someone coming.

Bits of the old barn flapped in the wind as did the plastic covers over the bales of hay, and both a Pied and a Grey Wagtail flew away from the spoil heap at my arrival. But I parked up for a while to see what might occur, waiting to watch the resident Robin, Wren and Dunnock scuttle through and over the farm machinery and paraphernalia, then after a while the wagtails returned. I took pictures of all but it was only back home downloading when I realised the camera had been set at ISO 800 from the previous grey days and I had forgotten to change it for the fairly bright sunny few hours. That’s my excuse for some fairly poor record shots that follow. But at least with ISO800 I did manage to get one action shot of a first for the Western Palearctic – Jumping Wren.

At the feeding spot I walked carefully along so as to get a whole count of the Tree Sparrows, but however it’s done they always scatter in convenient countable groups if not all in the same direction. Well I reckoned 200 today, an excellent count so early in the mild winter but they are probably the best catered for flock of Tree Sparrows in the country with regular feeds whereby all they have to do is turn up. Chaffinch numbers of 15+ were similar to most days here whereas the first ringing session will show that more come and go throughout a morning than our regular counts suggest.

Where I parked the car I could hear Buzzards calling so looked across the pasture to a small copse where sure enough a pair flew in and out of the tree tops with the usual corvid attendants. On the telephone wires a Kestrel watched the grass below.

Further up the track I dreamt I would find a good weather forecast where the foot of the rainbow bisected the fir wood, but of course it was just an illusion with a dark grey backdrop the promise of a normal afternoon’s rain to come then a dreadful Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

I did find some new birds up near the plantation where about 20 Skylarks seemed especially active, then on the edge of the trees where the grass was soggy, 5 Reed Buntings with 15 Meadow Pipits were newly in. Within 10 minutes the Meadow Pipits disappeared west and the Reed Buntings found the nearby overgrown ditch more to their liking as did a male Stonechat. Here I also found the roaming flock of Goldfinch with 18 today, so not only does the flock roam, it also breaks up and reforms according to the Goldfinch predetermined rules.

In the plantation I took the ropes off the net rides, no more autumn ringing here where in the depths of winter it is fairly desolate with few birds in evidence. Anyway as I assured Will, the ropes are in good hands despite the undeserved reputation I have for acquiring bits of ringing equipment from far and wide.

Near Curlew Barn a small handful of four Redwing flew calling from the hedgerow but the three or four Blackbirds simply moved along to a different spot.

I carried on down the track where I bumped into Seumus, empty bucketless and like me shaking his head at the unbelievable weather. Well it can only get worse for a few days. Looks like a morning at the gym tomorrow.

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