Sunday, 21 December 2014

This morning was overcast and grey, with a strengthening, cool westerly wind, I spent a little under 3 hours out on my patch, where there were a few interesting species to be found, but nothing new for the month or year list.

A pair of BULLFINCH were working their way along ashes Lane as I set off, then, crossing the Ashes Lane Fields, a COMMON BUZZARD flew up from the grassland, as did a couple of MEADOW PIPITS. Flyovers from 18 FIELDFARE, a SKYLARK and the first few BLACK HEADED GULLS were all seen as I headed for the Wet Woods, where GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were heard calling.

Arriving at the lakes I could see the immature MUTE SWAN, the COOT pair plus a few MALLARD and MOORHEN on the ornamental lake, the KINGFISHER flew across an empty main lake, then scanning the small lake a SPARROWHAWK flew across my binocular view, nothing was on the water though!

Most of the scarcer woodland species were found in the Scrubby Woods, the LONG TAILED TITS were on their own, but singles of NUTHATCH and TREECREEPER weren't far away, nor was another pair of Bullfinch. GOLDCRESTS were numerous, and much checking of them didn't turn one into a Firecrest. JAY, STOCK DOVE, a flock of 28 GOLDFINCH and another flyover Skylark were noted before I left for the Greenhouse Grounds via the Small Holding, where I saw a single GREENFINCH with half a dozen CHAFFINCH, only the second Greenfinch seen away from my garden this month!

The KESTREL pair were busy hunting around the Greenhouse Grounds and the LITTLE OWL was in the associated copse, I scanned the 100+ Black Headed Gulls that were on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, finding one COMMON GULL among them, but not the hoped for Med Gull. A group of 3 REDWING flew over and 4 PIED WAGTAILS flew to and from the sheep pasture and Greenhouses.

Just ten more visits left before the years end now, 3 of those will be full patch walks, taking the total to 120, which is the target ive met every year for the last 13 years now. I still need one more new species for December, this would bring the 2014 monthly average species tally to 70, a rare achievement indeed, having only done it once before  :-) This Decembers list is still way down in the rankings though, 60 species is only enough to take it into 8th position out of 13.

Little Owl at the Greenhouse Copse yesterday

Look at those talons, I reckon Little Owls have the largest talons of all the Owls, in relation to its body size!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Patchy cloud and occasional sunny periods were enjoyed this morning, when I carried out a full patch walk.

After some very uninspiring recent patch visits, today was a bit more interesting, with a good variance of species recorded, the total of 46 was well above average for a December walk. Three raptor species were found, the KESTREL pair at the Greenhouse Grounds, a SPARROWHAWK hunting over Migrant Alley and a BUZZARD that was over the arable field adjacent to High High Lane. Gulls featured strongly too, 100+ BLACK HEADED GULLS were out on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, with them was a lone COMMON GULL, plus I had flyovers from a few HERRING GULLS, but more impressively a flyover from a lone GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL (60) finally brought the months tally up to 60, just the third record of this species for 2014.

I took some more photo's of the LITTLE OWL at the Greenhouse Copse, which i'll put up on another post, I also got some half decent record shots of the GREY WAGTAIL that visits the Greenhouse Grounds, but failed to get near enough to the 4 MEADOW PIPITS that were sitting on the boundary fence line.

Over on the lakes the KINGFISHER was very audible, but was only glimpsed once, a GREY HERON flew in to join the immature MUTE SWAN, COOT pair, 14 MALLARDS and 4 MOORHENS that were on the ornamental lake. In the Scrubby Woods I could hear a MISTLETHRUSH singing, plus the LONG TAILED TIT flock showed up again, carrying with them NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST, and the more common BLUE and GREAT TITS. Two REDWINGS were also seen here, plus a couple of BULLFINCH and a flock of 18 GOLDFINCH.

JAY, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, SONGTHRUSH and a few flyover FIELDFARE were noted as I walked the Wet Woods and Small Holding.

Grey Wagtail, this is about the best of the images I got of it

I had to lean over a bramble bush, making trying to hold the camera steady in shadey light near impossible.

The high ISO I had to use diminished the picture quality