Saturday, 14 January 2012

The first frost of the year greeted me this morning, everything looked very wintry, encased as it was in a thin coat of ice.

Frosty Start
The sun rose into a cloudless sky, making for probably the most pleasant walk of the winter, at least weatherwise. The birds were, however, not exactly thronging on my patch, with 42 species being found in 3 and a half hours, which is about average, but numbers of birds seen was low, with large parts of the walk completely birdless.

The early songsters, ROBIN and SONGTHRUSH, were singing loudly for the first half hour, further song from MISTLE THRUSH, DUNNOCK, WREN and GOLDCREST was also heard as the morning warmed up a bit, with COLLARED DOVE, STARLING, GREAT and BLUE TIT adding their bit to the now ever growing list of species that are sharpening up their voices for the spring. A song was also heard that I always enjoy hearing at this time of year, that of the SISKIN, a small flock fed in Alders at the College Grounds, where four BULLFINCH were a nice sight in the frosty conditions, especially the colourful males, the welcome sound of a calling LESSER REDPOLL (57) was heard as it flew low over, the year list creeps on!

Migrant Alley was home to a flock of 68 BLACK HEADED GULLS, plus the usual ROOKS, WOODPIGEONS, JACKDAWS, and CARRION CROWS, with flyovers from HERRING GULL, YELLOWHAMMER, PIED WAGTAIL and CANADA GOOSE 14 of which went north, with the feral BARNACLE GOOSE with them. I checked out the nearby Greenhouse Grounds, and the Greenhouse Copse, in the latter a TREECREEPER was seen well, but my old mate the SPARROWHAWK was hunting low around the Greenhouse Grounds sending anything that was there into deep cover. Making my way home for a quick drink, I passed the Tree Nursery and saw the KESTREL up hunting.

Next up was the lakes via the Small Holding and Wet Woods, both the GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were seen in the Small Holding, and another Great Spotted drummed from the Wet Woods, where it was still really quiet for such a nice crisp day.  On the lakes I was pleased to see the COOT again, as well as a CORMORANT and a GREY HERON, the resident MALLARDS were present in small numbers, as were the MOORHENS, but no other visitors today.

The surrounding Scrubby Woods held the expected species, JAY, NUTHATCH, LONG TAILED TIT, a couple more Bullfinch and Goldcrest, but no Coal tit today.

In all another average visit, but at least another species went onto the year list, which now stands at 57, equal to the total species recorded in the January of 2005 and 2006, this is the second lowest January total, but plenty of days remain to sort that out,  back to it tomorrow, still a few species that might turn up yet!

Only two birds posed for the camera, a shame as the light was nice this morning.

Wren diving for cover!


Phil said...

Nice frosty picture Warren, sums up the weather nicely, well done with the Redpolls too, I think i'll struggle with them at NH this year.
Hope you don't mind but can I use your comment box to let Jason(Shenstone Birder) know that i'm unable to comment on his blog at the moment. I've been unable to see my own comments for several days, but i've just changed the comment box to the pop up window style and that seems to have solved it. Except that I can only comment now on blogs that have the same box. Hope that makes sense and sorry to use your blog:-)

Marc Heath said...

I can feel the cold in that first picture. You have quite a few Canada Geese there, a very tough bird to get in the Reculver area.

Warren Baker said...

No Probs Phil.
I had a lot of problems with comments, and changing my browser cured them. I use firefox for blogging now.

Warren Baker said...

It was quite cold this morning, but i'll take that over the recent weather!

Wilma said...

Love that first shot, Warren. Too cold to venture out here, but saw lots of activity at our birdfeeders from the warmth of the house.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was good to have a proper winter`s day, Warren. Albeit finger-numbing.

Jason K said...

Great frosty shot Warren.

I still need Lesser Redpoll for my patch year list.

Little Brown Job said...

Great frosty shot Warren, nice to have some blue sky for a change :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Nice post Warren, like first pic and well done on keeping that list ticking :-)

Steve Ashton said...

Nice post header picture Warren, frosty sunny mornings, what it should be like mid January.