Sunday, 8 January 2012

I decided to visit the College Grounds first today, it's always a toss up between getting to the lakes, or the College Grounds first, before the rest of the world gets out and about  :-)  I was out a bit too early if anything, as it was still pre-dawn as I passed through the Greenhouse Complex and made my way around the NW boundary ditch, I only found the early songsters, those being ROBIN, SONGTHRUSH, and GREAT TIT, as well as the ever present BLACKBIRDS, DUNNOCKS, WRENS and Corvids.

As it grew lighter, the College Grounds came to life, with all the regular species being found, LONG TAILED, and BLUE TIT, GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST TREECREEPER, GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, and COLLARED DOVES. On the ponds the usual MALLARD and MOORHEN were found, plus a GREY HERON, flyovers by MEADOW PIPIT, LINNET, HERRING GULL and PIED WAGTAIL made the list up to 33 species, quite good for this stage in the walk. Crossing Migrant Alley, to get to the Pub Field and Tree Nursery, 34 BLACK HEADED GULLS were seen feeding on the sheep pasture, nothing at all was out on the Pub Field, and in the Tree Nursery I fared not much better, just JAY and MISTLE THRUSH went into the notebook.

I arrived over at the lakes at 09:45, where things were desperate, just 1 pair of Mallard and two Moorhen were all the 3 water bodies could offer, and the only other bird added to the list was a SISKIN that alighted right at the top of an Alder tree, staying for less than 30 seconds!! Despite an hour long wandering of the Wet Woods and Small Holding, just one more species was added to the list - a singing STOCK DOVE. 38 species for the morning is 6 - 7 short of what I would expect for a January day, but this January and the December just gone, are proving to be extraordinary for the lack of birds in the area, when I look back at this date in 2009, 2010, and 2011, I was on respective year lists of  59, 56, and 58. Showing how poor this January's total of 53 far  :-)

In the gloom of the afternoon, I watched the garden feeders for a couple of hours, hoping for the years first Brambling or Redpoll, they weren't forthcoming, but, in between SPARROWHAWK attacks, 17 other species did visit the feeders, the best of which were a pair of BULLFINCH'S, which I made sure weren't eaten by the Sprawk, I spooked it out of it's hiding place in the evergreen tree at the bottom of the garden 3 times! A GOLDCREST and 3 Long Tailed Tits made the years garden list up to 21 for the year, 3 behind the best January total achieved in both 2010 qnd 2011.

The Sprawk, as well as the visiting NUTHATCH and COAL TIT were added to the days list, as well as two flyover CORMORANTS, making it a little more respectable at 42  :-)

As I said, the afternoon was gloomy and dull, but I tried with the camera, and even with it set at an ISO of 3200, and the aperture wide open at f5.6, a shutter speed of 160 was the best I could obtain, no good really, but here's the results!

Collared Dove
Blue Tit
Coal Tit

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