Saturday, 4 February 2012

My first full patch walk for February was a chilly one, under grey skies, but it proved quite an interesting visit, with an increase in bird numbers generally across the area. I visited the College Grounds via the Greenhouse Complex, and Migrant Alley first today, knowing that the lakes would be frozen over with little to see there, but I did make the effort to visit them later in the walk.

A pair of GREY LAG GEESE (46) flew over the Greenhouses early on, as did a pair of STOCK DOVES (47) both new additions for the months list, and a COMMON BUZZARD was watched from a distance as it sat in the low branches of an Oak Tree in the Greenhouse Copse. Another addition to the months list was made when 3 CANADA GEESE (48) flew over Migrant Alley.

A flock of mixed GOLDFINCH and SISKIN were feeding in Alder trees that line the College stream, where 5 MALLARD exploded out from under the wooden bridge as I crossed it, scaring me to death! The College Grounds and gardens provided lots of of activity, including two TREECREEPERS, one singing, a GOLDCREST also sang, two BULLFINCH, a COAL TIT, a JAY, and my first MISTLE THRUSH (49) of the month were the most noteworthy. Walking back over Migrant Alley, two COMMON GULS (50) brought up the 50th species for February, they were seen with 6 BLACK HEADED GULLS on the sheep pasture, with the local KESTREL seen hovering in the distance over at the Greenhouses, a GREY HERON flew over, no doubt looking for some open water to find something to eat, very little of that here in the frosty conditions.

Before checking out the lakes, I made a visit to the field with the wild bird food crop in it, the YELLOWHAMMERS were there in good number, 20-30 birds, but I didn't see a Reed Bunting with them today. The Small Holding and Wet Woods were good for CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, BLUE, GREAT and LONG TAILED TITS, as well as GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, all the regulars!

As I thought, the lakes were frozen from bank to bank, but I found the two COOTS easy enough in some bankside vegetation, nothing else was about though, I stayed for just enough time to check out the Scrubby Woods, where a NUTHATCH called, but a SPARROWHAWK flew in and put most things into hiding, three raptors for the second day running cant be bad though  :-) On the way home 2 flocks of FIELDFARE flew over comprising of 31 and 16 birds, the most seen all year, none on the floor here though!

A second patch visit was made early in the afternoon, over to my seat at Migrant Alley, where in a very chilly 40 min skywatch I added a flyover LITTLE EGRET (63, 51) to the years list, an excellent record, very few are seen here most years, and most just fly over, so they can easily be missed! At the end of my birding day a good total of 46 species were seen, the best tally all year  :-)

I only took the photograph of the friendly ROBIN today, a good stand by when nothing else turns up and it's cloudy  :-)



Rohrerbot said...

Excellent closeups of the robin:) I'm just about to take off on my journeys today. I don't know what I'll find...I just know that something will come my always does....bobcats, birds, deer...pretty exciting all of it. Hope you had a good day.

Alan Pavey said...

Great Robin Pics Warren, well done with the Little Egret, nice one.

Warren Baker said...

look foward to seeing some Bobcat photo's!

Marc Heath said...

Nice one with the Little Egret. No doubt looking for some fresh water to ffed in. It was bloody cold wasn't it. I'm just warming up now still!!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
A 'chilly one ' ?
The car thermometer read -5C as I headed into deepest Surrey .
Well done with your 6 additions .

Warren Baker said...

Its always colder in Surrey :-)

Phil said...

Well done with the Egret Warren. With the forecast as it is tomorrow could be an interesting day!

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful Robin photos Warren.

Anonymous said...

A good day`s birding, Warren. And well done with the Little Egret.

Christian said...

A very cute pic there Warren, lovely feathers blowing in the breeze.

ShySongbird said...

That Robin is a beauty!

46 sounds a brilliant tally to me. Hope the snow hasn't curtailed your plans today!