Sunday, January 9, 2011

Back To Earth

After the excitement and interest of Saturday’s several Brambling and tubby Blackbirds today was something of an anti-climax when the strong wind put paid to hopes of more ringing. However as always I signed in Blogger to report about my gentle jog around a couple of spots which ended when the fine Sunday morning hordes sent me scurrying back home for a bit of peace and quiet.

At Fluke Hall Lane the darkest of the stubbly fields was favoured this morning by Redshanks, with at least 120 taking advantage of the recent thaw, but lesser numbers of 30 or so Lapwing, a species which prefers the flatter fields towards Cockerham, where I didn’t venture today.

Alongside the lane and into the near wood my car disturbed at least 7 Redwing, 8 Blackbird and a little party of Chaffinch, less than 10 in fact.


Beyond Fluke Hall in the Ridge Farm fields were thousands of Pink-footed Goose and the now regular crowd of several hundred Jackdaws, but I didn’t approach the geese for fear of flushing them from their feeding. I needn’t have worried because no sooner had I decided to stay put than someone else, walking too close to the hedge, sent the geese swarming up and over the sea wall to the relative safety of the shore. There were at least 1500, with a hundred or so left in the peaty field near to me, plus 15 Lapwing and another 30+ Redshank, all partly hidden by the furrows of soil.

Pink-footed Geese

At Damside I watched at least 170 Woodpigeon come out of the game cover as Hi-fly quad-man came piled-up with feed for the ducks, the pigeons and the crows. This shooting lark is an expensive and time consuming business when the quad bike does daily drops with several sacks of best wheat; no wonder then that Quad Man switched into Environment Agency Lambing Season Man mode and did his best to deter people from using the footpath that goes alongside the shoot but is supposedly closed until Easter – try telling that to those who have already vandalised a new sign at Lane Ends and have a god given right to walk their pooches wherever they fancy.

Both pools at Lane Ends remain bird less and mostly frozen but I spent a little time there watching 18 Blackbirds and about 15 Redwings turning over the leaf litter to search the earth below, initially picking out each new Redwing by the flurry of leaves, so well do their brown tones merge into the ground cover. A single Song Thrush looked on, with 15 Chaffinch, 2 Reed Bunting, male & female, plus the now regular Treecreeper, Robins and Dunnocks, a single Pied Wagtail and 40 or more Woodpigeons. The Woodpigeons now roost in the same wooded island spot that the Little Egrets used until the cold weather drove them out.

Reed Bunting


From the sea wall the tide due in three or four hours lay distant, and out there I counted up to 60 large, white, mostly I guess the regular Whooper Swans, with more hidden in the far off channel. A quick and rough count of the also distant Shelduck came to 750+, while our little Merlin friend sat on Big Log, also waiting for the tide and something to happen.

Prospects for the week ahead look reasonable with Will reporting Siskins, Goldfinches and the odd Redpoll coming back to his garden. All we need now is a kind spell of weather and my hopeful header may become prophetic.

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