Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunrise this morning
Patches of cloud came and went this morning, giving some nice sunny intervals during my 4 hour full patch walk, making it much more enjoyable than yesterdays  :-)

A tally of 45 species was a little above what I would expect on a December visit, and it was pleasing to add 3 new species to the months list, the first being a fantastic male PEREGRINE (51) that flew low over Ashes lane early on.
Another sunrise image  :-)
Over at the lakes the MUTE SWANS were chasing the MALLARDS about, maybe a bit of territorial aggression ? Could they be thinking of breeding here? They would be the first Mute Swans to do so. The KINGFISHER was seen again, after a two day absence from my list, but the only other species on the water today was the MOORHEN.

Whilst in the Scrubby Woods, noting down all the regulars like BULLFINCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, NUTHATCH and GOLDCREST, I heard, then picked out, a YELLOWHAMMER (52) as it flew over, the first here since October, Yellowhammers are getting so scarce here now, to think they used to occur in flocks!

I've picked out a few yellowhammer stats that show the alarming decline of this species :-

In 2002 I recorded Yellowhammer on 87% of my full patch walks, with first 5 years of recording on my patch giving me an average sighting of 71% per full patch walk.
The second 5 years of recording gave me an average sighting of 61% of full patch walks, while the the last two years of recording, the sightings have dropped to just 26%, this year Yellowhammer has been sighted on just 19% of full patch walks. The last flock of Yellowhammers that had more than 8 birds in it was seen in 2004.

Back to todays visit, and the better day continued as I walked the fields and Greenhouse grounds, with the likes of SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL, and LITTLE OWL being found, a flock of LONG TAILED TITS were followed along a battered hedgerow, giving me a photo opportunity, and a pair MEADOW PIPITS flew up and over the Greenhouses, it was as I watched them that the third addition to the months list was found - a GREY HERON (53) .  Asecond Little owl was seen in the Greenhouse Copse, this one was more obliging than the one at the old shack in the Ashes lane Field!
Little Owl sunning itself on the edge of the Greenhouse copse
The Owls perch shows the mess of the treeline, due to the hedge flailers
Long Tailed tit
Distant Mallards leaving the lake before I got there!


Marc Heath said...

Not a bad list of birds, like the second Little Owl shot, those eyes are brilliant.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Marc,
Little Owls always look angry!

I was trying to manoeuvre round to get that shadow off the Owls face, but I pushed my luck and off it went!