Friday, 31 January 2014

No rain this morning - just fog, you cant win!!
With rain forecast to move into the area by afternoon, I was eager to get out and make the most of the dryer interlude this morning, especially as it was the last visit of the month. The hope of an early start was dashed however, as the dense fog didn't clear until gone 09:00hrs, I did at least get 3 hours out, finding a decent tally of 44 bird species, so it wasn't all bad news  :-)

I walked over to the lakes via the Ashes Lane Field at 08:00hrs, trying to pick out what I could as I went, CARRION CROW, DUNNOCK, JACKDAW, WOODPIGEON, GOLDFINCH, MAGPIE, WREN and ROBIN were all heard to call or sing, but none were seen! A small mixed party of LONG TAILED, BLUE and GREAT TITS were seen on the edge of the Wet Woods as I passed, further scanning produced a NUTHATCH and a STARLING, plus a couple of STOCK DIVES that flew out and into the fog.

At the lakes I was pleased to see that another female GOOSANDER had joined the 3 females and single male bird that have been there for the past two days, I duly noted the MUTE SWAN pair and the COOT pair, plus the MALLARDS and MOORHENS, but that was my lot, no new duck species for January.

I hung around as the fog cleared, and for two or three minutes the sun came out, before a short shower put an end to that extravagance, it did allow me to get some distant photo's of the Goosander though  :-)
These were about 50 meters away
This female did get to within 30 meters, after a long wait!
Whilst waiting for a photo chance of the Goosander, I heard REDWING and FIELDFARE flying over, plus GOLCREST, TREECREEPER, and COAL TIT singing from the nearby Scrubby Woods, where BULLFINCH, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and JAY were heard to call.

The fog had cleared for the rest of my walk, but it remained overcast as I squelched and slid around the fields, where not much was found until I reached the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, here at least 30 HERRING GULL were found, along with a single BLACK HEADED GULL, plus, at last, a species for the year list, 3 COMMON GULLS (64) .

I ended my walk at the Greenhouse Grounds and the associated copse, the latter had the LITTLE OWL on its usual perch, whilst the former was good for the likes of GOLDFINCH, SISKIN, SONGTHRUSH, MEADOW PIPIT, and PIED WAGTAIL. A short sky watch was had, but just KESTREL and CORMORANT were seen of any note, that Grey heron that i've spent hours waiting for this month just didn't turn up, making this the first January ever that one hasn't been recorded on my patch, thats thirteen January's!

So by the months end I had tallied up 64 species, the third best January total, but the fifth most productive, as the January's of 2009, 2011 and 2013 all had a 68 species found, and 2010 had 65 species found. Lapwing didn't appear this month, only the second January not to have lapwing on the list, 2008 being the other. I could have expected a Teal this month as well, only 2 January lists have not had one, those being in 2007 and 2012. Throw in a Snipe, not that unusual in January and I could have equaled the highest January total :-)


Jason K said...

Looks a bout as murky as it has been here Warren. That said the Common Gulls were a nice result

Marc Heath said...

It was all all bad news. The amount of birding I'm doing I might as well take up another hobby!!

Dean Stables said...

It`s been one hell of a miserable weather month, Warren. Just get February out of the way & then things will pick up "HOPEFULLY" !!!

Warren Baker said...

What about taking up scuba diving or kite flying :-)

Warren Baker said...

Ive known some february's to be quite dry and mild, hopefully we'll get one of 'em this time!

Warren Baker said...

it's gonna feel so good when the spring finally arrives :-)