Sunday, 17 January 2010

At last, after days of gloomy, grey clad skies, the sun came back! What a difference the light level makes, it was like spring this morning, and the birds certainly agreed with me.

It was already light enough to get out by 07:20, and when I left my house to walk along Ashes Lane, my pencil was scribbling away at a rate not seen for months, ROBIN, COLLARED DOVE, DUNNOCK, WREN, SONGTHRUSH and even a BLACKBIRD were heard to sing, while PHEASANT, JACKDAW, CARRION CROW, WOODPIGEON, HOUSE SPARROW, BLUE TIT and CHAFFINCH all called, 13 species in the first ten steps of my walk!

The LINNETS were seen leaving their roost in the tree nursery, 60-80 flew out as I passed, whilst a little further into the field a MEADOW PIPIT flew up and called loudly as it made its way into the distant blue sky. REDWINGS were a feature of todays walk, with a flock of 30 seen as I left the nursery and walked along the sheep pasture/hedgerow that takes me along to Migrant Alley, where another 83 were seen on the horse paddocks, along with just a single FIELDFARE. Also seen here was a small group of YELLOWHAMMERS.

I made my way to the College Grounds, but was unable to walk along the stream there, as it was in full flood, and I couldn't cross back over further down, but as I looked along the bank, a GREY HERON got up and flew a little further downstream. In the grounds and gardens of the college, more song was heard, from a MISTLE THRUSH, while a GREAT TIT called its spring call. GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, and a group of 4 BULLFINCH were also recorded here.

Crossing the sports pitch to get back to Migrant Alley, the usual BLACK HEADED GULLS were seen, but with them today was a few HERRING GULLS and the more scarce COMMON GULL. The second walk through Migrant Alley yeilded PIED WAGTAIL, SKYLARK and flyovers by both CANADA GOOSE and two CORMORANTS. Nearing the Greenhouse Complex the KESTREL was again at its usual place, and a brief rest on the sunny side of the buildings had me watching a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER bounding across the sky and before I had dropped my eyes earthwarwds again, a COMMON SNIPE flew in the opposite direction, a good species to get on my patch. Finishing the first half of my walk, that takes me along ashes lane again, I came across a noisey party of LONG TAILED TITS, which suddenly all dropped down as one, into the thickest part of the hedge and went silent, a quick look up gave the reason why, a SPARROWHAWK flew low over, they had seen it well before I had!

The second half of my walk through the Small Holding, Wet Woods and Lake area, gave me a few more species for the day list, a STOCK DOVE was singing, if you can call it a song, and GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, GREENWOODPECKER, JAY and TREECREEPER all made an appearance, in fact 4 of the latter were seen overall, one was in full song, a delight to hear.

The lake was virtually ice bound still, but two MALLARDS were under the tree overhang, however more of a surprise was the sighting of my first KINGFISHER (60) of the year, it was preening on a branch above the only ice free piece a water.

One more surprise lay in wait for me as I walked home, yet again along Ashes lane, a TEAL (61) was seen flying over the Greenhouse Complex, it seemed to have come from the direction of the wet woods, If it did, then I had missed it earlier, must try harder!!

A very good total of 49 species was recorded in all today, with another two species seen in the garden later in the day - SISKIN and COAL TIT, taking the day total to over 50. Among them the two more year ticks, makes the January total look much healthier, 61 is above average for the 8 previous years, but still seven below the record set last year.

Above an early morning view through the trees at the Colege Grounds
Below is an ealy morning House Sparrow

The Siskin below is one of two males that continue to visit my feeders

Whilst I had the camera pointing at the garden I took some Blue Tit photos


Kelly said... that last photo with the Blue Tits clambering over the suet, and that sunrise....gorgeous! Glad you had your first spring-like day. I think we'll have to wait another month or so before Mother Nature starts slipping them in for us!

Chris said...

Excellent Warren. In terms of species I'm half behind you, got 34 and 35 today, a ptarmigan and a goldcrest, but no pictures!

sharon said...

Glad to hear the sunny weather has lifted your spirits again Warren! Again love the photos, you're well on the way to last years record now!

The Early Birder said...

What a difference a bit of fine weather makes. I just knew that Kingfisher would turn up. FAB.

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Spring like morning here too - but it could all go horribly wrong by mid-week there's plenty of winter left yet and of course a few more January ticks...go on you KNOW you could get 70!



Adam said...

Well done Warren - storming towards beating Jan 2009's total. Two nice birds to get on sunny Sunday morning!


Jann said...

Such colorful, pretty birds visiting your feeders...all we get for the most part is the house finches; males are pretty but I'd love some variety! Nothing in days now while the sun's out tho. Nice photos and a nice outing Warren.

Simon said...

Well done with your 2 additions to the year list!

Anonymous said...

Lucky you Warren. We never got the promised sunlight :-(
and well done on the 2 additions to the list.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Much better day wasn't it ?
Well done with the new two for the month .
Like the Blue Tit shot too , we have a pair looking around our boxes at the moment .

ShySongbird said...

After the walks you have endured weatherwise lately, it must have been a pleasure to be out yesterday, it was glorious here too.

Very well done with the two 'new' ones and lovely to see the Blue Tits, they were certainly enjoying the fat cake. I have 4 or 5 half coconut shells filled with fat etc and a fat cake and fatballs but none are being eaten, I think I may have to throw my money in the bin and try yet a different make, there is definitely something that doesn't appeal, other years they were gone within days, even hours sometimes!

Mike said...

It sure makes a big difference, Siskin shots very jealous I haven't seen any this year yet.. Mike.