Monday 30 November 2009

There was just enough time to visit the small holding, wet woods, and lake area, before dusk set in, mind you it never really got light all day here.

I thought I might just sqeeze out one more new species for the last patch visit of the month, but it wasn't to be, everything is very static at the moment, mostly due to the unchanging, warm and wet weather that has been with us throughout November.

I did manage to find five tit species, GREAT, BLUE, COAL, LONG TAILED and MARSH, which is always nice, four Finch species CHAFFINCH, BULLFINCH, GREENFINCH, and GOLDFINCH as well as the two WOODPECKERS GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED. There were very few 'winter' birds about, four overflying FIELDFARE and a flock of 15-20 SISKIN were in an Alder tree by the lake. On the lake itself I was surprised to see three CORMORANT fishing, but not much else, 5 MALLARD and 6 MOORHEN, fewer numbers than of late.

I got good views of a TREECREEPER in the small holding, but the poor light prevented any photo's being taken.

Looking at the November stats, the month ended on a total of 63 species, the second best November in the 8 years of recording, the combined November total is now 78, the second lowest total, but it is shared with Jan. and Feb.

November, despite its poor weather and my illness, did throw in some treats, my first November Ring Necked Parakeet was recorded, and two other species never recorded in November - Little Grebe and Coot were a nice addition, especially the former, as it was a year first.

Looking at the average number of species recorded for all Novembers - which is 57, this Novembers 63 compares well. However, 68 is the average number of species I have seen per month this year. What will December bring ? One thing for sure, the record December species total of 73 is extremely unlikely to be broken, as it's the second best monthly tally of any month in any year, but there's no harm in having a go !!

Sunday 29 November 2009

The last full walk round my patch for November was a very frustrating one! As I left at 07:20 I was caught in a hefty shower, but it passed and it began to brighten up a bit. I made my way over to the lake area, via the small holding and wet woods, recording a good number of the more common species, including two that weren't seen yesterday, REDWING and GREY HERON, both at the small holding.

I made my way through the wet woods, and heard both FIELDFARE and LESSER REDPOLL fly overhead, the latter species wasn't seen yesterday either, and I thought to myself a daylist of 50 species could be on. At the lake area, it seemed everthing had deserted the place, their were just 3 MALLARD and 5 MOORHEN, with a single CORMORANT, which caught a small fish.
Around the scrubby areas and the nearby garden feeders, BULLFINCH, GREENFINCH, SISKIN, COAL TIT and LONG TAILED TIT brought the list to 37 for the day.

Walking back through the wet woods, I heard a loud clap of thunder, but it wasn't until I left my house after a quick drink break, that I saw what was heading my way. A huge black thunderstorm loomed menacingly to the west, I though it looked like the storm might skirt round my patch, so i carried on, however just 5 mins later it was apparent that I was wrong, the first large drops of rain fell as I crossed the tree nursery and I looked for some shelter. Despite the oncoming rain, the last of the sun was shining low from the east, creating one of the most spectacular rainbows I have ever seen - quite remarkable.

A few minutes later, the rain came on real heavy, and large hailstones fell, I was caught out in the middle of it all and got thouroughly soaked! In all the rain I did add YELLOWHAMMER and MEADOW PIPIT to the daylist, but I didn't finish the walk, as it just kept raining, and I got fed up!!!!

With just one more afternoon walk left for November, it looks like last years record November total of 66 will remain in tact, but the total of 63 achieved this November was the second best ever. This despite all the rubbish weather and the 'flu', so I cant be too disappointed.

Below are a few photo's of the spectacular rainbow, this in itself was worth getting wet for I thought!

Below, in the opposite direction, a female CHAFFINCH sat in a tree in the sunshine
A GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was on the peanuts in my garden as I left just before the storm
Also this Nuthatch came to visit as I was photographing the Woodpecker

Saturday 28 November 2009

After some heavy overnight rain, the sky cleared towards dawn, and my 4 hour full patch walk was carried out under a blue sky.

I walked the farmland part of my walk first, which was a bit disapointing, as it was infested with dog walkers today for some reason. One woman let her dog jump up me, putting mud all up my trousers, I felt like wiping my boots up her skirt, to see how she would enjoy it, but managed to hold my annoyance in.

Anyway back to the birds, a good selection of species was seen, but actual numbers of birds were low, not much winter flocking going on. The only winter visitors seen were flyovers of two FIELDFARE and two SISKIN, over the tree nursery, where I watched the remaining 10 or so LINNETS come out of their roost. Migrant Alley had a flock of BLACK HEADED GULLS on the sheep pasture, numbering 43, with two HERRING GULLS amongst them, as I approached, 3 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS flew over, the first ive seen since early this month. Out on the new grass field, there were 2 SKYLARKS, two YELLOWHAMMER, and the usual gathering of ROOKS and JACKDAWS. Over head, a skein of 22 CANADA GEESE, with a single GREYLAG GOOSE went SE, I also notice two CORMORANT headed towards the lake area.

I couldn't walk down the stream adjacent to the college grounds, as it had turned into a river with all the rain we've had, making it impossible to cross, so I missed out on finding a possible Kingfisher to add to the months list. In the college grounds, plenty of common birds were around, MISTLE THRUSH, SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, JAY, MOORHEN, GREEN WOODPECKER, Tits and Finch's all were found.

The second half of my walk around the more wooded area of my patch, was also infested by dogwalkers! The first glimpse of sun for a while seems to have brought them all out. I did still find a few more species that I hadn't got on my list earlier though. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, TREECREEPER, LONG TAILED TIT and MALLARD were in the wet woods, where a SPARROWHAWK went gliding through, its legs dangling free, redy to strike. Nothing of any interest was on the lake, it had all been flushed off, but as I walked the footpath from the lake back to the wet woods, I saw a MARSH TIT pop into a hole in a tree, and a few seconds later come out again, was this its roost, or was it prospecting a nest site for the coming spring ? It would be a new bird to breed on my patch if it was the latter.

Coming out of the wet woods, I walked the edge of it, along Marchants field, and was pleased to find a LITTLE OWL staring down at me from above, also as I looked across the tree nursery, a KESTREL was seen to be hunting over at the greenhouses - the last species on my list of 46 for the day. Nothing new for the month, but with a few missing 'usually seen' species, such as Goldcrest, Redwing, Grey Heron, and Meadow Pipit, the day total could have easily reached an excellent 50.

Above and below is the Little Owl seen on the edge of the wet woods.
Below is a Teecreeper - again seen in the wet woods
Below is a photo of the footpath in the tree nursery, many parts of my patch are like this - muddy and flooded!

Friday 27 November 2009

It didn't rain at all today, thats news in itself!

As I walked home from work this afternoon, across Migrant Alley, a female sparrowhawk flew just 15ft from me, a foot above the ground, i've not been seeing to much of the Sprawks recently.

My usual afternoon walk to the lake area was somewhat disturbed by a couple of dog walkers who were ahead of me, they turned off the footpath just before the lake, but had already scared off anything in the small holding and wet woods. Once at the lake it was just as I had left it yesterday, a few more MALLARDS had turned up, and three MOORHEN were establishing territories, a CORMORANT sat up in a large fir tree, it's usual perch. In the surrounding vegetation I again found COAL TIT and GOLDCREST, and also a FIELDFARE, unusual to seee one here, it had found some crab apples, and had them all to itself! Both SONGTHRUSH and MISTLE THRUSH were heard to sing from the scrubby area, and a quick look at the feeders in the adjacent garden provided all the common garden birds, BLUE and GREAT TIT, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, as well as a NUTHATCH.

I made a trip over to Migrant Alley in the gathering gloom, the sun was going down already, and it was only 15:30! I decided to sit on my seat and watch the area to see if anything passed over on the way to roost. I didn't wait long before two Cormorants flew over, I watched two dozen BLACK HEADED GULLS feeding out on the sheep pasture, and as I did, 3 SKYLARKS dropped in. A single MEADOW PIPIT flew over, but more interesting were 3 LESSER REDPOLL that went over going N. A cock PHEASANT was moving along the bottom of the tall hedge, which also had a WREN, a DUNNOCK, and ROBIN in it. By now it was getting quite dark, and also a bit cold, so I decided to head of home, as i did so, two groups of PIED WAGTAILS came over, and went onto the Greenhouses, where they roost, about 18 in all, but I'm sure many more will drop in later, also 23 LINNET flew over and circled the Tree Nursery, waiting for the work party to leave before they would settle down into the Laurel to roost. I also watched Chaffinch's and STARLINGS drop into a tall leylandi hedge that borders a garden, as good a place as any to roost up for the night.

Nothing new for the months list then, but i have the weekends morning visits to do yet, - weather permitting, it looks like its gong to be rain, rain, rain again!!!

Above is a Dunnock, which came out of the tall hedge as I sat on my seat at Migrant Alley. Below are the two Cormorant that flew over.

Thursday 26 November 2009

There were some good sunny spells for this afternoons walk - well for the first hour anyway, but as the sun started to go down, a large shower cloud came over and rain fell, by 15:30 I had to call it a day.

There were plenty of birds around the Small Holding again, BULLFINCH, CHAFFINCH, and GOLDFINCH all fed in various shrubs and berry bearing bushes, a GREEN WOODPECKER was on the floor below the pear trees, and two Jays screeched from an Oak. As I was just going into the wet woods I heard the trill of LONG TAILED TITS, I gave them a scan through, just in case something interesting was tagging along with them, but only found BLUE and GREAT TITS.

All was quiet in the wet woods, apart from a calling GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, and a couple of scurrying MOORHENS, whilst the footpath leading to the lake area had a couple of GOLDCREST up in a conifer tree.

On to the lake, and what would I see today ? Not much is the answer, a lone CORMORANT was fishing there, but only two Moorhens and 8 MALLARD were seen, I think something or someone had already disturbed the area. I decided to go over to Migrant Alley, seeing a TREECREEPER, and a COAL TIT as I walked back into the wet woods.

Upon reaching Migrant Alley I could see the dark shower cloud looming overhead, so only 20mins was spent there, before the rain fell. The only birds of note were a couple of dozen BLACKHEADED GULLS and a MEADOW PIPIT sitting on the Greenhouse rooves.

So I still need four new species for the month, and just four more days to get them!

I took a few pics today, these are my efforts - in order of descending light!

Above: Male Chaffinch
Above and below : Coal Tit

Below: Meadow Pipit
Lastly a typical view of a TREECREEPER, as it moves round to the opposite side of the tree!

Wednesday 25 November 2009

I left for this afternoons patch walk in slightly better conditions than I have been used to of late, it was still on the windy side, but there were at least some sunny spells to be had. It was during such a sunny spell that I reached the small holding, where there was quite a bit of bird activity, 8 CHAFFINCH and a similar number of GOLDFINCH were around the pear trees, 3 BULLFINCH were in a bordering garden hedge, and a flock of mixed Tits, including at least 11 LONG TAILED, 6 GREAT, and 4 BLUE with a lone TREECREEPER in tow, were moving through the area.

Just two MALLARDS and a calling GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were in the wet woods, and nothing much more was seen right until I reached the lake area. Once again I was eager to see if anything new had turned up there, but as is so often the case I was to be disappointed, still, if I found something new on every trip to the lake I'd only get bored! I did see at least 25 Mallard, and a few MOORHEN - as usual. I thought I would have time for a trip to Migrant Alley this afternoon, but as i looked across the lake, and skywards, I could see a huge black shower cloud coming over, so I decided I would sit out the rain in one of the run down shacks that over look the lake. Within a few minutes blackness decended, the wind got up to gale force and heavy driving rain came crashing down. As I watched the rain bouncing of the lakes surface during the worst of the shower, I caught something from the corner of my eye, it dropped in from the storm, a heron, I thought, a white heron - no, a LITTLE EGRET! Thats how heavy the rain was, I could hardly make out the pure white bird as it struggled to make a landing in amongst the overhanging trees. I couldn't see it from where I was, but as the rain eased, I went round to a better vantage point, and got a photo of it, then as I tried to move a bit closer, the Egret took of and went on it's way again. What a bit of luck! To have such a scarce bird for my patch drop in to sit out a shower, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time - thats 63 for the November list now, just four more new species in the next five days will take the November record, unlikely, but I might just do it ?

The last Littel Egret I had on my patch was on july 12th, but I also recorded one on March 14th they were flyovers, but on April 19th, one alighted in the same overhanging trees at the lake as todays bird, maybe it is the same bird ?

Above and below: One of the Long Tailed Tits at the small holding

below is a view through the wet woods - very bleak, even with the sun trying to shine
Lastly, the Little Egret, not much of a photo, but its the best I could do!

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Once again the weather was a feature on my afternoon patch walk today, though not as wet, there was a strong, and strengthening southerly wind blowing, but the showers remained light and squally.

Despite the conditions, I was again itching to get out and check the lake over, after yesterdays Little Grebe sighting I was feeling lucky! I passed through the small holding, and saw a flock of mixed CHAFFINCH and GOLDFINCH, they were tossed around like dried leaves in the wind, but managed to perch up in a hawthorn bush, where I checked them out unsuccessfully for for an elusive Brambling. A GREEN WOODPECKER, JAY and PIED WAGTAIL were under the pear trees, and a few BLUE and GREAT TITS were around the hedge.

I reached the wet woods, and was relieved not to have the wind blasting into me, but the roar of it in the tree tops meant the high pitched calls of any Goldcrest or Treecreeper that might have been there would be impossible to hear, but the much louder, stronger, ''kek'' of the GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was heard. As I came out of the woods, and walked the footpath that leads to the lake area, I checked the well wooded gardens on each side of me, hoping to flush up a Woodcock, as I have done once in the past, or maybe locate a feeding flock of Long tailed tits, with a Firecrest among them, which I have also had the fortunate experience of doing - you can tell how optimistic I felt today! However neither happened, and I eagerly reached the lake, anticipating finding something different, or just to re-find yesterdays Grebe or sundays Coot. Upon scanning the water I was brought back down with a bump, it was back to MALLARDS and MOORHENS ! I counted 48 of the former and 7 of the later, and despite hanging around and continually checking the overhanging tree line, I couldn't find the Grebe. It may have been hiding up, as they can be very elusive, hopefully it was, and i'll find it again later this week.

I checked the garden feeders of the nearby house, finding the feeders empty, but in some alder trees close by was a small group of SISKIN, the scrubby area close by held a few BULLFINCH, but thats all I could find, the wind was making it impossible to pick out any bird calls, except that of the overwintering MARSH TIT, that ''pitchooed'' from a nearby hawthorn.

After only being out for around 90 mins, thick dark cloud came over, and a splattering of rain arrived, time for me to head off home, it was almost dark by 15:45! So no more new species were found for the November list, but I think Ive still got some enthusiasm left to get out again tomorrow. :-)

Monday 23 November 2009

I got home from work this afternoon, and as I ate lunch, the sky darkened and the wind got up, then it threw it down - nothing new there then!

I was determined to get out though, and inspired by yesterdays Coot, at the lake, and the sighting of the months first Little owl, I trudged off out, just to visit the lake area. Unsurprisingly I saw very little as the wind blown rain lashed aginst me, a few GREAT TITS in a garden hedge by the small holding, that had more sense than me were sheltering from the worst of the elements, and a JAY screeched from the orchard, as if to mock me. I was pleased to get to the wet woods for a respite from the wind, but the leafless trees did nothing to shelter me from the heavy rain, the pools in the woods are filling nicely now, and I saw 4 MALLARD dabbling on one of the larger ones, maybe there will still be time yet to record a November Teal here.

Upon reaching the lake I was soaked through, and what did I get for my efforts ? Well, as I sheltered from the rain in an old outbuilding that coveniently overlooks most of the lake, I saw through the broken windows, 8 Mallard and 4 MOORHEN on the initial scan, but then I saw a CORMORANT surface, it had caught a decent size fish, and swallowed it down, a bit more scanning produced nothing more, and I looked out the other side of the building, which has a view of some of the scrubby area, there I watched a male CHAFFINCH enjoying the wet weather, and 4 BULLFINCH'S doing the same, but everything else was sheltering.

The rain then died down a bit, and I thought i'd get home before the next downpour, however, I thought i'd just give the lake one more scan, and I was glad I did, because as I scanned along the overhanging tree branches, I saw my first LITTLE GREBE (109) of the year, fantastic! This years total really has smashed last years record of 106 species, I think next year is going to be hard work. :-)

This is the first Little Grebe I have recorded since an individual over wintered in 07/08, that one arrived on 31 Dec. 07 and stayed around until the 29th of Mar. 08, so maybe this one will stick around for the Dec. list!

Whilst looking at my stats, I also saw that this is the first Little Grebe to be recorded in any November, bringing the cumulative November total for the 8 years to 78. Not surprisingly this is the second lowest cumulative monthly total, but what is surprising, is it now puts the month of August at the bottom, with just 77 species for the 8 years, surely this is one month I will improve on next year!

No pics again today, the weather was just too awful to even take the camera out!!

Sunday 22 November 2009

I had to let a heavy shower pass before leaving for my patch walk this morning, but in the 3 hour visit I got lucky and only two more heavy showers came through, before they turned back to back downpours later on.

A total of 43 species was seen today, 3 of these were not seen yesterday, firstly a
SPARROWHAWK, secondly that most rare bird for my patch a COOT! This is the second one this month, I am very impressed, as no Coot has ever been recorded in November before! I was also happy with the third species as it was new for this month, a LITTLE OWL, it flew from the edge of the wet woods as I walked Marchants field ( what was part of the tree nursery).

I had good views of both TREECREEPER and GOLDCREST as they fed along the footpath from the wet woods to the lake, but it was too dull to photograph them. A group of 5 BULLFINCH'S flew from the lakeside scrub, and a flock of 11 FIELDFARE flew over whilst I was there, the only ones seen this morning.

At Migrant Alley 7 SKYLARKS, two YELLOWHAMMERS and a single MEADOW PIPIT were on the sheep pasture, and the nearby college sports pitch had 38 BLACK HEADED GULLS and 9 HERRING GULLS feeding on it.
REDWING and SISKIN were seen, but they and the Fieldfare were the only species that gave my walk a wintery flavour.

So the months list moves on to 61, just 6 more new species needed for a new November record total, but with only 2 more full walks of my patch left and 5 short afternoon visits, I think it's a challenge too far. :-)

Saturday 21 November 2009

A break in the weather this morning made for a refreshing change, no wind or rain! A good selection of species was recorded, 46 in all, but still nothing new for the months list.

Pick of the bunch were, two seperate flocks of SISKIN, one at the stream adjacent to the college grounds, another over in one of the large gardens by the lake area, both flocks were feeding in Alder trees, and invloved around 20 birds in each flock. The MARSH TIT was seen feeding with a mixed flock, and a lone LESSER REDPOLL flew over the wet woods, where two TREECREEPERS were seen. The only raptor seen today was a KESTREL, hunting over the greenhouses.

A few more winter thrushes were seen flying over, three seperate groups of REDWING, the largest being of 15 birds, and FIELDFARE went over in varying size groups, from 1 to 27. Other noteworthy sightings were 4 BULLFINCH, feeding on Sycamore keys, and a group of 5 YELLOWHAMMER in one of the newer hedges at Migrant Alley.

In all a much better patch visit!

Below is a PIED WAGTAIL that was seen on the Greenhouses
The sun tried to come out for an hour around midday, so I took some photo's of the garden birds at my feeders.

Below is the best view I had of the GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER

...................and below a DUNNOCK a GREAT TIT

.......................and then the ever present GOLDFINCH

........................with GREENFINCH

..........................and a male CHAFFINCH

.....................mixed finch's, tits and a HOUSE SPARROW

..............................a couple of COLLARED DOVES

...........lastly a ROBIN

Friday 20 November 2009

This afternoon was dull, gloomy, and damp, I decided I wouldn't go out onto my patch, instead I went up to the garden shed, and tried to get some photo's of the garden birds through the window. The light started of bad at 14:00hrs and by 15:00hrs it was dire, my camera shutter speed was on 1/60th of a second even with the ISO on 1600! The result was grainy blurry images - well what can you do ? Here's the photo's that were rescued, at least you can see they are birds.

The weather looks like its going to stay dry for the morning visit to my patch tomorrow, but rain will be moving in for the rest of the weekend - great. :-(



Above and Below: BLUE TIT


Above: Goldfinch's with Great Tit. Below: Goldfinch's with Blue Tit

Thursday 19 November 2009

The usual ''winter'' route was walked this afternoon, but it was very quiet, and there was little change, if any, from yesterday. This warm and windy weather is no good for finding the winter birds! I had to make do with a few CHAFFINCH in the small holding, mixed Tits in the wet woods, and my old friends the MALLARDS on the lake, around 30 of them today. A BULLFINCH and a TREECREEPER were seen around the lakeside vegetation, but that's as good as it got!

The only winter birds seen today was a flock of around 60 FIELDFARES that flew over Migrant Alley.

I took a photo of the tree nursery as I left the wet woods - Above. You can see over the top of the Laurel shrubs and onto the Greenhouse complex roofs, behind those is Migrant alley. The green grass in the foreground was part of the tree nursery last year, earlier this year all the remaining saplings were removed from it, and it was ploughed and seeded with grass. Last winter I found Firecrest, Woodcock and Snipe amongst all the tangle of shrubs and brambles there. It will be difficult finding them this year on my patch!

Below is a photo looking back to the wet woods across the same seeded field, I'm going to call this area 'Marchants' field from now on (as the tree nursery has left here), after the owners of the field.
Having not seen a great deal on my afternoons walk, I used the last dregs of sunlight to try and get some photo's of the last few birds at the garden feeders, all I got was this GOLDFINCH

..................and this GREAT TIT..................

............................and this BLUE TIT............. I'm really struggling on my patch now. :-)

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Just 90 mins were spent out on my patch this afternoon, it was very windy, and thick cloud made it dark and gloomy, not very conducive to finding birds. Most of my time was spent around the Lake area, hoping a duck would drop in - any duck but a mallard would have done! Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, so I scanned the 48 MALLARD, just to make sure that was what they were, and once satisfied that none were mascarading female Shovelers or Gadwall, I checked out the surrounding scrub. This proved disappointing, as all I found were WRENS, DUNNOCKS and ROBINS, with the odd BULLFINCH, the nearby garden with the feeders had a good selection of common birds, CHAFFINCH, GOLDFINCH, GREENFINCH, BLUE and GREAT TIT, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and a foraging JAY. I wasn't going to find any new species for the month here, so I went of over to migrant alley, checking the wet woods and Tree nursery on the way, which was very empty of birds, at least, if they were there the wind made it impossible to hear them!

Once again the wind was a problem at Migrant Alley, and I just about heard SKYLARK and MEADOW PIPIT calls being sucked along in the strong gusts. It soon got even gloomier as the sun went down, and all I noted was KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK, several small groups of PIED WAGTAILS going to the Greenhouse complex to roost, and also the LINNETS going to their roost in the ever diminishing field of Laurel shrubs in the tree nursery, I watched a flock of at least 40 drop in. Just before leaving, a RING NECKED PARAKEET flew over calling loudly, and alighted in a silver birch tree in one of the large gardens, adjacent to Migrant Alley.

Too gloomy for any pics today - not that anything stayed still enough to be photographed !

Tuesday 17 November 2009

I barely had two hours this afternoon before the evening started to draw in, thats not enough time!!

Most birds were seen in or around the small holding today, a flock of mixed Tits, with a few CHAFFINCH, 5 FIELDFARE, a SISKIN and a TREECREEPER all found something to eat in a hawthorne bush, whilst two GREEN WOODPECKERS and three JAYS were in the pear trees. Not much happening in the wet woods, so it was on to the lake area, where once again there were plenty of MALLARDS a few MOORHEN and, today, they were joined by a GREY HERON, not quite what I wanted, but better than nothing!
Both KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK were hunting over the scrub area, but not alot else was seen there, I heard the MARSH TIT calling from the garden with the feeders, a quick look round didn't reveal it, but there were plenty of BLUE and GREAT TITS, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, a few GREENFINCH and a male PHEASANT under the feeders.

I quickly walked over to Migrant Alley, as the sun was already going down, and it was much the same as yesterday, SKYLARKS, MEADOW PIPITS and half a dozen BLACK HEADED GULLS. I sat on my seat and hoped for something new to fly over, but the only things of note were a YELLOWHAMMER and 10 LINNET, the latter went over to the tree nursery where they roost in amongst the Laurel shrubs - this will be the last winter that they can do this, as all the shrubs will be removed by next winter.

Its getting difficult to to find those new species needed for the November record of 66, given that the days are so short now, just seven more species would break the record, the most likely of which would be Little Owl, Kingfisher, Reed Bunting, or Lapwing, maybe one of the Peregrines will show up ? thats still only 5 though, so it looks like a tough target!

Above: Kestrel hunting over the scrub around the lake, seen below

Monday 16 November 2009

I was out for two hours this afternoon - from two to four, when it started to get dark and gloomy. I walked over to the lake, not finding much on the way, three BULLFINCH in the small holding was the best of it. There were plenty of MALLARD on the lake, over 40 in fact, with half a dozen MOORHENS, but nothing more exciting was with them. I saw the MARSH TIT in the surrounding scrub, it was using the feeders in the nearby garden.

I made my way over to Migrant Alley, where 5 HERRING GULLS and 39 BLACK HEADED GULLS were feeding on the water logged sheep pasture, a few MEADOW PIPITS flew up as I walked the fields, and around a dozen SKYLARK dropped in to the new seeded field - which is coming up very fast and green! As I walked the tall hedge, I could here the loud calls of JACKDAWS and ROOKS coming from beyond it, as I reached the hedges end I could see at least 500 of the corvids mobbing a COMMON BUZZARD over the top of the small wood that lies beside the Greenhouse complex, a nice species to get for the November list, bringing the 60 up.

Making lists, and breaking records, is all good fun, but it has a serious side, looking back at the Common Buzzard records for my patch, they show how this species has colonised my area over the years, none were recorded in 2002 or 2003, the first one to show up was in Sept 2004, that was the only record for that year. In 2005 I had records for Common Buzzard in two months, in 2006 I had records in 4 months, 2007 in 7 months, 2008 in 9 months, and this year I have recorded it in every month so far. All good scientific data!

Above and below: A Coal Tit seen at the lakeside scrub

Above and below: One of the Black headed Gulls at Migrant Alley

Below: Just Mallards at the lake - again!