Saturday, 13 March 2010

What a load of rubbish the weather forecast was! I was looking forward to sunny spells and 10C, in fact it was damp and cloudy with drizzle falling early on, it wasn't until gone noon that the sun tried, but mostly failed to come out. My camera stayed at home!

Given the conditions, it was a hard job finding any spring songsters, but once again it was the GOLDCREST, the smallest bird of them all, that led the way, one was singing just as I left the house at 06:30. Other half hearted efforts were made by WREN, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, SONGTHRUSH and BLACKBIRD but it should be a bit livelier by now!

The quiet part of the day - early on, was used to get to the lake area before anyone else, but nothing was on the water of any significance, 8 noisey CANADA GEESE, 4 MALLARD, 2 MOORHEN and the long staying COOT was all that was on offer. Around the woods and and lakeside scrub, the NUTHATCH, LONG TAILED TIT, MARSH TIT, COAL TIT, and two more Goldcrest were found, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS drummed and GREEN WOODPECKERS called. The BULLFINCH'S look to have paired up, with 4 different pairs seen, and MISTLE THRUSH'S were chasing about, but very little song has been heard from this species so far this year.

The fields and paddocks at Migrant Alley were completely devoid of bird life, the Hadlow College lambing weekend was taking place, and all the activity had dispearsed any birds, it will be the same tomorrow :-(. However I found where all the REDWING and FIELDFARE had gone to, they were at the top of a group of Poplar tree's that line the boundary of the College gardens, a mixed flock of a hundred or so birds were making a wall of sound as I passed beneath them.The highlight of the day was had as I passed back through Migrant Alley, on my way back home, 3 SKYLARKS (61) flew low over, circled round as if to land, but thought better of it and carried on NW, this species really is declining on my patch, due to the lack of nesting habitat, any that is available is frequently disturbed by the college farm and stables, tidying the areas.

It was a poor visit generally, with just 41 species seen, I would expext 47 - 50 at this time of year. A little later, around midday, I was tempted back out by the somewhat 'brighter' conditions. I headed of to watch the sky from my horse jump seat at Migrant Alley. I was hoping for a spring migrant, but none showed today, I did however add CORMORANT to the day list, 3 flew over, and I had some good views of 3 SPARROWHAWKS that were circling together, quite high up. Both Peregrines were on the tower, but didn't visit my patch.

This Sparrowhawk was one of two that visited the garden this afternoon, I wonder if they were the ones I saw earlier over Migrant Alley ?


ShySongbird said...

We had even more of a wind today and it was still viciously cold! Great photos of the Sparrowhawk, the second one is a real cracker Warren.

Chris said...

HI Warren,
Yes, I do not trust the weather forecast neither... I went out this afternoon and got an hour and half of sun and they planned rain!!! But I got no bird to take pictures off.. Still managed to see the species number 48, the great northern divers are back ;-)

Sharon said...

Have to agree with ShySongbird, the 2nd photo is a stunner! I've only seen a Sparrowhawk once over here (2 years ago) & it was scared away by the neighbours kids! Would love to see another one, don't think the small birds would tho!

Anonymous said...

I just never thought about it before but I think I got some sparrow hawk photos and called them coopers hawks. Your photos are stunning. I like them a lot.

Pete Woodruff said...

Quote....I left the house at 06:30....unquote. Reminds me of the days (10 years) I was a milkman Warren and up much earlier than that but not these days, but nice to be the early bird now and again for all that.

Great pic's of the Sparrowhawk, one on Birds2blog any time soon with my thanks Warren. Please do let me know if my permit runs out.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Warren.
He is certainly a handsome beast that Sparrowhawk. Good photo's.
It is a shame your not getting the number of species that you should be.Things have to change soon....don't they??

Anonymous said...

Well, we still remain neck & neck Warren. Something`s got to give soon, for either of us. All the best for the rest of the month.

Monika said...

Great sparrowhawk shots! I know you've reported fewer garden species when the raptors are around, but have you ever actually seen them snag a bird from near your feeders?

Jann said...

Oh fantastic shots! Beautiful! You're making me really anxious for the birds to return...I do think they are just on their way and hope to get out Wed. for the first time since the bald eagle.