Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Killing Time?

When about midday the warming sun cleared the car windscreen and the roads of the overnight frost and ice, I took a trip Out Rawcliffe way. Last week I put a couple of Niger feeders out in readiness for any spring passage of finches so wanted to see how the feeders were performing. I say “any” spring passage because this winter has been totally different from the previous one. In the early part of 2011 and into March we were busy catching lots of Chaffinch, Brambling, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, but in 2012 there are a lot less of those species, especially the latter three, so for instance I haven’t seen a Brambling since November.

There seemed to be birds around our spring and summer plantation today, mainly Chaffinch and Goldfinch, and although the Niger levels had hardly dropped I topped the feeders, set a couple of nets just in case and then took a wander through the still bare trees. After the frost a Woodcock was a certainty, and as I aimed for the clumps of winter bramble the question was not whether I would flush a Woodcock, but when it flew would it head towards the nets? It crashed off north, in the opposite direction to the desired one, but I got a good look as it twisted up and away.

I waited for the nets with in the background a Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming out his spring mating call, above the wood 2 Buzzards soaring, and in the distance 5 Roe Deer running across the stubble to the safety of a quiet copse. Click on the "xeno canto" arrow to hear the woodpecker.

Great-spotted Woodpecker


Watching the plantation combined with a meander about clocked up 2 Kestrel, 18 Skylark, 8 Linnet, 15 Chaffinch, 12 Goldfinch, 3 Blackbird, 1 Lesser Redpoll and 12 Yellowhammer, but very few of them were interested in making a guest appearance on the field sheet; I caught just 5 birds, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Blackbird and 1 Great Tit. The shy Yellowhammers were coming in for the remains of the shooters wheat stock, providing me with an excuse to perhaps come back soon in the hope of connecting with one or two of the yellow buntings.



Well it may not have been the busiest of birding or ringing days, but it sure was enjoyable out in the sun and fresh, cold air.

"You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers. A certain free margin...helps your enjoyment of these things." - Walt Whitman


Mary Howell Cromer said...

Of course I enjoyed them all...however...that Spotted Woodpecker is quite the charmer of the day for me, just quite a lovely little chap!!!
We are to get a spot of snow this evening...yeah...I think. At least maybe we can have a good freeze to freeze out my cold~

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...That woodpecker looks like he has angel wings on his back ..another set of wings wouldn't hurt!!
Those Woodcock could scare the crap out of anyone..I have been jumped many times by those buggers!!
Getting ready for the spring migration I see...well it will get here so don't go killing to much time ..where do you get these weird titles from anyway.."no" don't answer that ..I already know ; }
Your know it all Friend

Paco Sales said...

Si el tiempo fue más agradable parece que la cosa ya va mejor, no Phil?, me encanta el carpintero manchado nunca había visto uno igual, un placer pasar por tu blog e ir aprendiendo cosas nuevas. Un abrazo amigo

eileeninmd said...

Great birds, Phil! I love the spotted woodpecker it is a beautiful bird. And I love the yellowhammer and a cool capture of the buzzards in flight. Great photos! Happy Birding!

Russell said...

Some lovely birds and love the pose of the woodpecker. I'll have to wait til I'm out of the office to hear his drumming....but would love to.

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