Thursday, 10 December 2015

It was back to the dark, overcast and windy weather for this morning, but at least it wasn't raining....well....much!

I decided on a full patch walk today, the fourth of the ten to be carried out this month, where in the 4 hour visit I found a good tally of 47 species, alas none were new to the month, but a record of sorts was set when for the first time ever on a full patch walk I failed to find a House Sparrow, that's 14 years and 1674 full patch walks! I checked all the regular spots for one, but not one was found, they have dwindled here in recent years, but I never believed i'd not get one on my daylist! No doubt they are still on my patch somewhere and had I stayed out longer I would eventually turn one up, but I like to keep the walks roughly the same time length.

Anyway, beyond the sparrows, there were a few good birds about today ( for my patch)  GREY WAGTAIL, KESTREL, LESSER REDPOLL and SISKIN were at the Greenhouse Grounds, where the overwintering CHIFFCHAFF was seen again, plus the mixed feeding flock of GOLDFINCH, GREENFINCH and CHAFFINCH enjoyed the seed mix I put down for them. BLACK HEADED GULLS, HERRING GULLS and COMMON GULLS were out on the adjacent sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, along with 250+ STARLING.

The LITTLE OWL was again in the old shack at the Ashes Lane Fields, where a single MEADOW PIPIT was seen and a YELLOWHAMMER flew over.

The Wet Woods and Scrubby Woods turned up the regulars, BUZZARD, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, LONG TAILED TIT, COAL TIT, GOLDREST, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and JAY being the pick of those, Bullfinch remained unseen today though.

Only the KINGFISHER was of any note on the lakes, over which a CORMORANT, then flock of 45 FIELDFARE flew, these were the only sightings of winter thrushes this morning. The Small Holding Area had a hunting SPARROWHAWK present, plus a few GREEN WOODPECKERS and a MISTLETHRUSH of note.

Back to yesterdays Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve visit for todays images, which are of a pair of Gadwall, a real rare species for my patch!

Gadwall, Male

It's not until seen close up that the lovely markings on the male of this species can be appreciated.

I watched a pair feeding together

One would dabble for food whilst the other kept an eye out

They never dabbled for food at the same time  :-)


Derek Faulkner said...

Re.your sparrows comment, I have the same "where have they gone" feeling about finches - I can let you have 50 odd sparrows that daily plunder my feeders though.

Wilma said...

Such an intricate pattern on the male gadwall! So beautiful in the golden light. Terrible that you didn't see a house sparrow. Hope you never have a repeat of that!

Derek Faulkner said...

Have to agree with Wilma's comment about the male Gadwall. It's my favourite duck and your photos capture perfectly the patterning that so many people don't see. From a distance that can look very drab but in reality they are from it.

Warren Baker said...

Glad you enjoyed the Gadwall images. Re- the Sparrows yes' i'll gladly take a few off your hands!

Warren Baker said...

One of the great things about getting nice images of the birds, is being able to appreciate their subtle markings. Hopefully the Sparrows will show up over the next few visits, but they are dwindling away at a constant rate here :-(

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Glad I'm not the only one to find gadwall simply stunning.

What's been the driver of the sparrow decline? Here I'd hazard a very strong guess at the removal of (mostly) privet hedges to be replaced by fences and the replacement of wooden soffits and facias with tighter fitting uPVC ones



Warren Baker said...

Much the same reasons here. There has been much renovation of the large houses along our lane, also ''garden makeovers'.