Sunday, 5 February 2012

Four inches of snow had fallen overnight, so rather than struggle round the whole of my patch, I decided just to visit Migrant Alley for a skywatch, along with the Greenhouse Complex and the drainage ditch at the NW boundary of my patch.

An icy Ashes lane
Walking along Ashes lane, just a few species showed themselves in the icy conditions, ROBIN, JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON, MAGPIE, and a couple of flyover GOLDFINCH.

A view over the Greenhouse Grounds, towards the Greenhouse Copse
Snowy Silver Birch

Once at the Greenhouse Grounds, it was still relatively quiet, a GOLDCREST called from a nearby evergreen tree, and COLLARD DOVES could be heard, along with GREAT TITS, a few BLACKBIRDS scampered around beneath the tall hedge, looking for whatever they could to eat, while above them a WREN sang loudly and two BLUE TITS scolded me from the uppermost twigs. I scanned the whiteness of the sheep pasture, and heard then saw two SKYLARK (52), the first this month, very welcome they are too  :-)

Before my skywatching session, I walked over to the nearby drainage ditch than runs along the NW border of my patch, I new what I was after, and straight away found it, a COMMON SNIPE (64,53) the first this year, a difficult species to get on my patch, unless its cold and snowy!
View over the drainage ditch looking NW
After that little success, I headed back to my position next to my seat at Migrant Alley, the seat was of course unusable, with 4 inches of snow on it, so I stood and watched the grey skies, which tured out to be quite eventful. I had one each of REDWING and FIELDFARE, and a single LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL (54) was the first this month, the local KESTREL showed up as well, it was good to see it was carrying a large prey item  :-) Two COMMON GULLS were a good species to find, they went over with a few HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS, then the first of two flocks of LAPWING flew over, 18 went SW followed by a further 47, the second flock were closely followed by 6 GOLDEN PLOVER (55) brilliant! Another Feb. species, and another good bird to have here  :-)

After an hour and a half I was beginning to get a bit cold! I stuck at it for another half hour and was rewarded with my first PIED WAGTAILS (56) of the month, 6 MEADOW PIPITS, a SPARROWHAWK and a JAY. By 10:00 I was in need of a hot brew and headed home, a short visit but a very rewarding one.

Sparrowhawk going over
Once home I watched the feeders, which were a frenzy of activity, 20 species came in to feed, the best being a lovely Male BULLFINCH, plus a SONGTHRUSH, and an old friend not seen since the snow of 2010, a MOORHEN!!   I took lots of garden photo's this morning, i'll post them through this week  :-)

View from my upstairs birdwatching window, looking South

PS: A short afternoon visit back over to the Greenhouse Grounds was a good move, as a LESSER REDPOLL (57) was found amongst a flock of 24 Goldfinch, feeding in Alder, the months list is racing along now!


Phil said...

I had a small flock of 6 or 7 birds over the river today which I think could have been Golden Plovers Warren. Couldn't be sure so won't be ticking them unfortunately.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Phil,
It's difficult getting an id on the waders as they speed over, i'm not good at it at all, I missed probable Mandarin Duck going over today - I was messing with the camera!!

ShySongbird said...

Well done with the Snipe Warren, your instincts served you well.

The Bullfinch is lovely!

Rohrerbot said...

Wonderful snow shots! Beautiful Sounds like your adding to your count:) Best sightings sometimes can be in the snow:) Another shoot today. Hopefully I'll get the Cedar Waxwing. They were sighted there last week.

Warren Baker said...

Thats what becomes of knowing every inch of my patch so well !

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful photos of the snow.

Simon said...

Well done with the Snipe!! Bullfinch on the feeders - very jealous, lucky you mate!

Marc Heath said...

Lovely snow shots Warren and a few good birds turning up in this bad weather.

Anonymous said...

Another good day was had then, Warren. Good stuff.

Pete Woodruff said...

More excellent images Warren including my favourite which is the one of the Bullfinch through the snow covered branches.

The Garden of England was headlined on BBC News today re taking the brunt of the forecast snow as your pics clearly show.

Alan Pavey said...

Nice to find the Snipe Warren, some great photos too.

Greater Kent Birder said...

Some great shots of the snow and as for a bullfinch on your feeders.................
I'm lucky if I get a chaffinch!