Sunday 27 November 2011

Red Fox
The last full patch walk of  November took place this morning in overcast and windy conditions, with some squally showers thrown in, but by 10:00hrs the clouds parted and it became sunny and mild.

Early on in the walk, in near darkness the above Fox was seen hunting in the Small Holding, I had not too much hope of a decent photo, but by ratcheting up the ISO to 3200 on the camera I was surprised at just how bright the image is, shame I chopped a bit of its tail off!

As I was photographing the fox, a flock of 60+ FIELDFARE dropped in to the tallest trees around the Small Holding, stopping briefly before moving on again. I also moved on, to the Lake area, where 24 MALLARD and 5 MOORHEN were the only residents today, whilst in the Scrubby Woods the strong wind made it difficult to hear much, except a singing MISTLE THRUSH, and a singing SONGTHRUSH, a BULLFINCH was glimpsed, and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER called from the top of a fir tree, but that was about it for the area, a very poor visit indeed, with so few birds about.

The second half of my walk over to the College Grounds, via the Tree Nursery, Pub Field, and Migrant Alley was a pretty grim affair birdwise, despite the brightening conditions, just 10 more species were added to the daylist, making for one of the poorest November tallies ever, just 35 species! The best of those were the BUZZARD that flew low over, plus the 6 CORMORANT that also flew over, and apart from a couple of SISKIN seen in the College Grounds, nothing more noteworthy was seen. There were many regular and common species that weren't seen, the most alarming was the House Sparrow, today was the first full patch walk in the whole of the ten years of recording that not one was seen, that's just under 1,200 full patch walks!

I was feeling pretty despondent with the mornings efforts, and so had another visit this afternoon, little had changed, but I was very pleased to see a flock of LAPWING wheeling over the Pub Field, I estimated around 150 birds in all, I made my way over and found the Lapwings were on the seedling grass, feeding, so I made a count and got 141, but probably missed one or two in the dips of the field  :-)

I made my way back through the Tree Nursery, then on through the Greenhouse Grounds, where the day took a big turn for the better when I flushed up my first RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE (108, 66) of the year ! In fact it was the first one since February 2009, not the most exciting of species, but it made my day  :-)  On the way back home I watched the LINNETS coming into roost, but these only took the day list to 38, still at least 7 species down from an average November walk.

The year list now moves on to 108, which is the 3rd best year out of the ten so far, whilst the months list moves onto 66 which is now the joint second best November with 2008, I wonder if I can find just two more species in the three short afternoon visit left this month, that would equal the record November tally :-)

Photo's were hard to come by today, but it was indicative of the topsy turvey weather this year, when this Bumble Bee was seen on the last remaining flower on my Buddleia this afternoon, I also had a Red Admiral Butterfly go through a little later.

Bee On Buddleia

Bee On Buddleia
Last of all, a poor record shot of the Red Legged Partridge - very welcome it was too  :-)

Red Legged Partridge


Alan Pavey said...

Well done with the Red Leg, you may catch me yet!! I think work has taken it's toll, yesterday I thought today was the last day of November!!?? Nice shot of the Fox too.

Warren Baker said...

I knew what you meant Alan :-)

Marc Heath said...

Looks like you have cornered the RLP for your shot. A good one to get for your patch no doubt.

Phil said...

Good pics and a great way to hit 108 with the Red leg Warren. You're three in front of me now, but there's still a month to go!

Warren Baker said...

Phil, I might just sqeak in a Ring Necked Parakeet flying over, or possibly a Little Grebe on the lakes, but i cant think of much else I can add for the year here........but you never know :-)

Rohrerbot said...

Warren, that is a great shot of the fox. How exciting!!! What is going on with the house sparrows in your area? This is the second account I've heard of their numbers dwindling. Maybe they all moved to Arizona and are feeding at my stand:) I caught the culprits chasing the birds into our windows....Cooper's Hawks!!! It was pretty epic. The hummingbirds were chattering up a storm while they were up in the trees. Nature is really something.

Warren Baker said...


We need some of our sparrows back please mate :-)

I hope the Coopers Hawk doesn't plague your feeders for too long, it can be so frustrating ! :-)

Bob Bushell said...

The best is the Fox, I love him/her.

Anonymous said...

Well done on the Red-leg year tick, Warren.

Millhouse Photography said...

It's a beautiful Red Fox shot Warren. I've still never seen one in daylight.

Jason K said...

Lovely Fox photo Warren...they are always a pleasure to see!