As is usual on the first day of a new month, I undertake a full patch walk, hoping to kick off the month with as many bird species as possible. February can be a good month, if the weather turns cold, but there aren't much signs of that happening anytime soon, so I don't think i'll be threatening the record February tally of 70 species that was achieved in 2013, even the average tally for the previous five years looks hard to reach, at 67!
Anyway this is what I found this morning..........
Walking along Ashes Lane, through the Small Holding and into the Wet Woods, I turned up WREN, JACKDAW, SONGTHRUSH, CARRION CROW, GREAT TIT, GOLDFINCH, WOODPIGEON, HOUSE SPARROW, ROBIN, BLACKBIRD, STARLING, COLLARED DOVE, BLUE TIT, LESSER REDPOLL, MAGPIE, JAY, GOLDCREST, GREEN WOODPECKER and MISTLETHRUSH.
On the lakes there was a lone drake GOOSANDER, also MALLARD, MOORHEN and CANADA GOOSE were added. The adjacent Scrubby Woods had LONG TAILED TIT, CHAFFINCH, DUNNOCK, TREECREEPER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, STOCK DOVE, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, and COAL TIT all for the February list.
Out on the Ashes Lane Fields the MEADOW PIPITS were awaiting, as expected, but there were many more than normal, at least 22 were seen, a GREYLAG GOOSE flew over and dropped down at the lakes, a lucky addition to the months list! Walking the Pub Field I added ROOK, but nothing else. Entering the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley I was able to easily add 3 gulls species, HERRING, BLACK HEADED and LESSER BLACK BACKED, I also saw 5 SKYLARK, plus had 3 YELLOWHAMMERS fly over and a BUZZARD, which cleared the fields!
At the Greenhouse Grounds the expected PIED WAGTAIL and SISKIN were added to the months list, plus, as yesterday, the KESTREL pair were seen together, the male looking in tip top condition.
With 44 species on my list, I headed off home for a coffee, where at my feeders I added GREENFINCH to the months tally.
After my drinks break I went back out to Migrant Alley for a blustery skywatch, it provided just one more species for the February total, a PEREGRINE FALCON, i'll take that! I first noted it some way off, high to the NW, it soon homed in on the huge flock of Woodpigeons that were crammed in on one of the paddocks, I estimate about 500 birds were on it. The Peregrine, a female, rapidly gained speed as she gradually dropped down, the trees of the Wooded Headland were used for cover, then she burst out onto the field of Pigeons taking them utterly by surprise, but the strategy of flocking together paid off for the Pigeons, as their mass irruption into the air distracted the Peregrine, and although she managed contact with one of them, causing a plume of feathers to burst forth, her speed had gone, so she was unable to knock the Pigeon down, coming away with just a feather or two. The action wasn't quite finished yet though, with all the Pigeons gone, she sat on the fence line, giving me distant, but really nice views, she then flew off, passing just 20 meters from me at head height, I watched her fly to the Pub Field, where another irruption of Pigeons and feathers were seen, but I couldn't see if she was successful this time ! What a treat, what a wildlife spectacle, right place right time!!
I hadn't got the camera with me, but the light was so poor the images would have been horrible anyway, so hears a few more Lesser Redpoll images from my garden feeders, taken the other day, the males are getting into breeding plumage now :-)
Male, Almost in full breeding plumage :-)
This ones got a bit further to go
I cant quite get the ring number on this one, shame.