A keen SW wind blew today, bringing in heavy cloud and spits of rain now and again, we're not quite out of the winter yet!
I didn't add any bird species to the Feb list on my walk in to work, or on the way back home, but the homeward trek had some interest when a mix of FIELDFARE, REDWING and STARLING were seen feeding on the College Sports pitch, about 75 -100 birds in all, with two MISTLE THRUSH hiding away in the midst of them. As I walked up ashes lane, past the Tree Nursery, the KESTREL was up hunting over the shrubs.
This afternoon it continued dull and cloudy, with a strengthening wind, not camera weather again :-( I had in mind, two species that should easily be found for the months list, Jay and Green Woodpecker, they can be seen almost anywhere on my patch, at anytime, but I still missed them yesterday!
As is the norm, I first walked to the Small Holding, a good spot for both the target species, but none were here, although the Alpaca enclosure had a Redwing, 20 CHAFFINCH, 2 GREENFINCH and half a dozen BLUE TIT feeding on it, and a GOLDCREST was seen in a garden hedge.
Into the Wet Woods, where there was a Woodpecker calling, but it was a GREAT SPOTTED one, also calling, loud and clear, was a TREECREEPER, and at least 2 NUTHATCH. There were 2 pairs of MALLARD on the flooded woodland floor, but the bonus birds here were 4 LESSER REDPOLL feeding up in a Silver Birch tree, I watched them deftly remove the seeds from the tree, showering me in husks in the process ! Three more Goldcrest were moving through the trees together, but there was no sign of a jay, not even a raucous squawk :-)
At the lakes, the gas canons had made sure there wasn't much in the way
of wildfowl about, they were back in force today with a triple blast every 20mins, this eventually drove me nuts, and I finished the walk early. There were some Mallard about, maybe 5 pairs, and also 3 MOORHENS, but they were all very wary. I went off into the scrubby woods, in pursuit of the target species, and I did eventually find a JAY (41) it flew past silently, and was almost missed. Another bird I thought I had a reasonable chance of seeing today, was one of the two MARSH TITS (42) that are overwintering here, one did oblige, calling loudly as it moved along with a LONG TAILED TIT flock, two BULLFINCH'S were seen well, as was a COAL TIT that sang from the very top of a conifer tree. I still didn't find the Green Woodpecker though.
I took my usual route home, somewhat earlier than normal, as I said, those gas canons drive you mad! Coming out of the wet Woods, I scanned the sky a saw two CORMORANTS (43) heading over to the lakes, they circled round, lower and lower, checking the area was safe, then they disappeared out of view, so I assume they alighted on the main lake. Walking across to the Tree nursery and Pub field, its all quite open country with some large gardens nearby, excellent Green Woodpecker territory, so I scanned over the large manicured lawns, nothing there, looked across the Pub field, none there, but there were at least 65 FIELDFARE on the maize stubbles, and a few BLACK HEADED GULLS over head. I walked through the Tree Nursery, where the Kestrel watched me from a telegraph pole, then two PHEASANTS flew up in front of me, almost causing me to lose the cheese sandwich I ate earlier! A couple of DUNNOCKS scampered around, as did BLACKBIRDS, but not a single Green Woodpecker, unbelievable, they are seen on every visit usually!
On reaching home there was time for a cuppa tea and a garden bird watch, which as usual turned into the SPARROWHAWK show, a smart male bird came in today, but then just as things were quietening down, I saw a movement on the side of the Oak tree that grows in the neighbours large garden, and there it was, the GREEN WOODPECKER ( 44) , all is well then :-)