Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's Eve

A final walk around the parish to try and add any last species to the year list. No luck but glorious winter light this morning.

Interesting light effect over Richmond too:  

Highlights were a couple of Grey Wagtails on Morton water works

A nice, if distant, flock of around 50 Lesser Redpoll near the school,

three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, on the floods a Little Egret, half a dozen Wigeon, 300 odd Greylags and a Great Black-backed Gull (only my second of the year). Less happily found this shot Snipe washed up on the edge of the floods.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

27th December

Lying in bed last night I could heard large numbers of duck on the floodwater, even through the double glazing, but there were only around a dozen Mallard and a single Cormorant on the bottom fields this morning. A single Redshank flew over and as I approached Langlands I could hear Whooper Swans calling but couldn’t see them. They may have been flying along the river as sound carried well in the exceptionally calm conditions….

The floods on Langlands too were quiet with only a handful of Teal but the Greylag flock by the How Beck had grown to over 400 birds.

Last winter there were record numbers of buntings in the arable fields at the south end of Langlands. So far the mild weather has meant they haven’t gathered in large numbers but there were around 40 Yellowhammers there today.

This Kestrel, perched in the same bush as the Yellowhammers, seemed more interested in earthworms than birds and was able to spot them at surprisingly long distances…

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

23rd December

A quick look in at the floods in the bottom fields but there were only around 20 Mallard on here. I walked down Greenhills Lane but again it was quiet with 20 Teal and 42 Greylags on the remnant floodwater here, a Treecreeper and 35 Long-tailed Tits in the oak ‘avenue’ and a Little Owl roosting in the ruined farm buildings where it had nested in the summer.

On the way home I decided to go back in to the Magic Garden for another look at the floods. No Mallard on here now, instead a small group of ducks which included 10 Teal, a drake Gadwall and a pair of Shoveler, another new bird for the parish! I had scanned the water pretty comprehensively before so it seems likely these were fresh arrivals. How much most go unrecorded each year?

Also seen here were Lesser Redpoll, Sparrowhawk, two ‘singing’ Little Grebes and at least a dozen Snipe flushed up from this area of the floods.  

Sunday, 20 December 2015

20th December

The floods have receded very quickly. This was the view on Langlands last week…..

And this is today.

The bottom fields have held on to more water but it is much shallower now and is obviously ideal for Teal with 232 counted there this morning, a new parish record.

These fields also held 35 Mallard, 11 Wigeon and 65 Curlew and around 150 Greylags flew over.

Back at home I watched Coal Tits taking sunflower seeds and ‘caching’ them in various parts of the garden. I hadn’t realised they did this but it is actually a well-known feature of the species. Apparently they don’t have fantastic memories though so I am anticipating some unexpected sproutings in the spring! 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Greenshank & Geese

Even more extensive flooding today...

On here there were 40 Mallard and half a dozen Wigeon and Teal. Over on Langlands it looked very quiet but as I approached one area of floods I flushed a Greenshank from the edge of the water. This species is a rare spring visitor to the parish but this is the first winter record. Only small numbers of Greenshank overwinter in Britain, and most of these are concentrated on the south and west coasts so this was an excellent sighting. I didn’t manage a picture of the bird but this is where it was!

I could hear good numbers of Greylags here, around 300 birds were in the fields on the far side of How Beck but a nice skein came flying over. I picked out some higher pitched voices amongst the deeper calls of the Greylags and on the edge of the skein were six Pinkfeet. They broke off from the main flock and I lost sight of them over the far fields. I didn’t manage a picture of them either but these are some of the Greylags they were with!

The walk was rounded off with a nice flock of Fieldfares dropping in to the hawthorn and crab apple trees on the farm.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Bad Choice...

The river rose very strongly last night and Morton Bridge was closed from late afternoon. It’s still closed today although a couple of brave/foolhardy souls attempted to drive through…

It doesn’t look as though the water could get much higher but this is still a couple of metres below the highest level recorded at this spot (in September 2012).

Saturday, 5 December 2015

5th December

Extensive flooding again this weekend. These were the bottom fields yesterday morning.

83 Mallard on here (a very good count for the parish) plus 12 Wigeon and a single distant ‘Scaup-faced’ Tufted Duck.

Good numbers of Curlew were also around along with 100+ Lapwing. Four swans flying over here turned out to be a family party of Mutes.

Somewhat different weather today! Most birds had cleared out in the very blustery conditions and the Langlands floods were completely empty but the bottom fields still held 20 Mallard and a handful of Wigeon but they had been joined now by half a dozen Teal and a single Gadwall. Yet another new bird for the year and only the second record for the parish.