Saturday, 2 January 2010

A hard fost had formed overnight, turning all the puddles and pools on my patch to ice, and the thick mud had set like concrete, becoming ankle breaking to walk on!

It was very quiet birdwise, most birds have moved off to less frozen habitat, but a few hardy individuals have stayed around. The roost of LINNETS seem to be surviving the cold, I watched at least 40-50 birds come out of the Tree Nursery shrubs at first light. At Migrant Alley there were plenty of REDWINGS picking over the frozen ground at the horse paddocks, where a single YELLOWHAMMER was seen, and a single SKYLARK flew over, but mostly the sky remained big, empty, and blue, just HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS were seen going over.

The first of two additions to the year list was seen as I looked across to the Greenhouse Complex, the KESTREL had returned to hunt there, the second addition was a GREY HERON that flew up the stream by the college grounds, the 50 species mark has been reached.

The second half of my walk felt colder, probably because I was in the shade most of the time, it really was bleak in the Wet Woods, all the water had frozen again and the only birds around were BLUE, GREAT and LONG TAILED TITS. The disappointing visit was compounded when I reached the lakes, they were once again frozen from bank to bank, and there is little prospect of them thawing any time soon looking at the weather for the next few days!

I saw a few SISKINS, a COAL TIT, and a NUTHATCH, as well as a few BULLFINCH'S, as I looked around the scrub, but nothing much more to note than that. On the way home back through the woods I saw a JAY driving off a SPARROWHAWK through the tree tops, and a quick glance at the LITTLE OWL roost showed that it was home. A total of 44 species was good for the conditions, I think it will get tougher if next weeks frosts come to fruition, and the lake stays frozen for any length of time, it could prove very detrimental to the January and year list, not to mention the affect on the smaller birds - I better get some more sunflower hearts for the garden feeders!

Speaking of which, the only photo's I got today were of the garden birds, (apart from the last pic) they are really making heavy use of the suplemented food.

Above: A female BLACKBIRD warms herself in the sun, below a male GREENFINCH does the same.
Below: A Great Tit breaks into a sunflower heart

Above and Below: Greenfinches monopolise the feeders for a while ( spot the ROBIN below)

Below: GOLDFINCH'S get their turn a bit later

This last photo was taken in the wet woods, its an albino Squirrel, thought you might like to see it.


Chris said...

HI Warren,
Wow the albino squirrel is something fantastic but strange! Well done on the new species. I'm amazed to see your feeders working so well! It's amazing to see so many birds around them...
I reached 27 species today and nicely added three rare species, the grey heron, the green wing teal and a Eurasian woodcock which has been around! It started well, and let's hope it will continue!

sharon said...

Well done on reaching the 50 mark on only the 2nd day! I'm lucky if I see 15, let alone 50!
Love the photos of your feeders, I can see why it must cost you a fortune to keep them topped up!
Albino squirrel...rabbit up a tree... whatever will you photograph next?!

Kelly said...

...what an icy cold walk you had, and that albino is quite an oddity for me. When I was growing up, there was a neighborhood in my town where a population of albino squirrels lived, but I haven't seen any since then--and that's been over 30 years!

ShySongbird said...

Yes I did like seeing the albino squirrel, you seem to have become a bit of a magnet for oddities in the last couple of days Warren :)

Nice to see all the garden birds, they are eating me out of house and home here!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Albino squirrels, rabbits in trees - quality mammal list for 2010 developing



Adam said...

Nice feeder pics Warren. Greenfinch numbers seemed to have dropped dramatically this winter on my patch - I used to have a regular flock of 20+, but only had 2 this winter. Shame as the Hawfinches used to associate with them!


This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Warren: I love all your birds on the feeder. That albino squirrel is a real find.

Anonymous said...

I like this white squirrel.

I spent some time working on my birds blog today. I am trying to do it over for 2010. I don't know if I should start over or add to the old one.

Pete Woodruff said...

Good to see all those Greenfinch on your feeder Warren considering the dramatic decline with the species at the hands of the parasite which name I've forgotten for the moment.

Anonymous said...

"there is little prospect of them thawing any time soon looking at the weather for the next few days!"

I hate to be the harbinger of gloom, Warren. But the weather is forecast to be the same for the next 2 weeks. Hope they`ve got it wrong.

Monika said...

I agree with everyone else - your new year mammal sightings are out of this world. What will January 3rd bring?