Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Light Lunch

I hadn’t been out to Rawcliffe Moss for a week or more but this lunch time presented an hour or two to fit in a quick visit. From the car I could see Seumus had been earlier because although fairly distant, the fresh line of bright seed mix stood out on the brown, muddy track as did the gaggle of 16 Wood Pigeons helping themselves.

Along the hawthorn and the wet ditch the count of customary diners revealed 120 Tree Sparrows, 14 Yellowhammers, 10 Chaffinch, a single Fieldfare, 4 Blackbirds and 2 Reed Bunting. Thrush numbers down then but resilient Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers still abound.


Tree Sparrow

Reed Bunting

Up on the big field 4 Roe Deer did their usual disappearing trick but twice, initially running from sight with stuck on tails, but then taking more determined evasive action by deerleaping the barbed fence.

Roe Deer

I checked out the stubble fields where I watched a circling Kestrel, but with tramping through the short stalks I put to flight 18 Skylark, then a tight flock of 80 Linnets that surprised me simply by being there after the recent weather events. More Woodpigeons up here in the woods and our plantation gave me an extra 110 to put in my notebook.

A few lines of distant Pink-footed Geese gave me the usual photographic dilemma of grey goose versus grey sky. But it’s nice to just see and hear them constantly without trying to get too scientific with counts or take the ultimate picture. If only they were that obliging anyway, but it’s strange how for instance some birders think they can just jump out of a car in front of a flock of feeding pinkies without the geese immediately taking to the air in panic.

Pink-footed Goose

Up near the plantation I saw a Buzzard over towards Nateby heading as usual even further away from me so I took the track through the trees. The wildfowlers pond was just about thawed; enough to hold a single Snipe on a little muddy bank but there were no duck. Of course the Snipe made off pretty sharpish, unlike the one at Pilling a few days a go.


Two more noisy Blackbirds and several Goldfinch in the alders almost completed the picture here until a party of about 22 Corn Buntings appeared from the trees to then head off south, but I did catch up with them near the farm. I can only think that in the trees the buntings were feeding on some of the wildfowlers spilt grain intended for the absent Mallards.

In the lee of the birch wood I could see a couple of Blackbirds feeding in the soft grass but also 3 Song Thrush virtually together. Song Thrush, so scarce we need to note them all.

Song Thrush

Other odds and ends today – both Dunnock and Great Tit singing at the hint of extra daylight and warmth plus a Great-spotted Woodpecker on the same hole infested tree I saw it a week or more ago. Spring can’t be far away!

On the way off the moss a Little Owl in the barn was reluctant to hang around for a photograph. So I stuck here a picture of the same bird on a nearby tree on a previous but sunny day.

Little Owl

Ringing tomorrow, watch this space.

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