Friday 30 November 2012

This afternoon the weak watery sunshine of early Winter was a real treat, despite the chill of the day  :-)

I spent 2 hours out, squeezing the last minutes of November daylight in, trying to add a different species to the months list, but it wasn't to be, in fact for such a bright calm day there was not much bird activity really. In the Wet Woods a party of LONG TAILED TITS, about twelve birds in all, were joined by two GOLDCREST, a COAL TIT and two GREAT TIT, a rather small feeding flock, but this may well reflect on the poor breeding season had here by the Tit species this year, either that or they were all back at my garden feeders  :-)

On the Lakes it all looked good for a surprise Duck species to be present, maybe a Teal, Tufted Duck or Goosander, but no, not today ( as is usually the case!) only 3 MALLARD and 7 MOORHEN were present. In the adjacent Scrubby Woods, once again the sound of calling BULLFINCH was heard, as was the high pitch call of both TREECREEPER and at least two more Goldcrest.

I spent some time around the Tree Nursery, walking through the waist high vegetation, much attention was paid so as not to stumble into the pits left by the removed saplings, which are now filled with water, however my bravery was not rewarded by that wanted Snipe  :-(  I did find at least a dozen SONGTHRUSH though, plus two GREEN WOODPECKERS, two MEADOW PIPIT, loads of BLACKBIRDS, at least 8 DUNNOCKS and three WRENS. A small flock of six REDWING flew over whilst I was there, and the KESTREL pair were both up hunting.

I finished off at the Greenhouse Grounds, where today the Alder Trees were empty, the Lesser Redpolls and Siskin had moved on for the time being, but they could always return I suppose. Four GOLDFINCH did remain however, with another load of Dunnock, there were a minimum of 8 birds feeding amongst the old Raspberry canes, along with more Blackbirds and Wrens. As I left, a SPARROWHAWK flew low past carrying its prey.

So I didn't add any more species to the months list, it ended on 64, the third best November total out of eleven, which wasn't a bad effort considering the poor weather experienced, indeed 3 of the full patch walks this month were abandoned half way round!

The November mean average species tally was at least passed, that is on 60 for the eleven years, and the appearance of the very late Swallow was a first for any November, bringing the combined November total to 86 species  :-)

I'm looking forward to a new month, and getting a full patch walk in early tomorrow :-)

Photo's today are of the familiar species to be found around my patch........

Thursday 29 November 2012

At last a day free of wind and rain! So I was able to get out for a ninety minute walk, visiting the lakes, Wet Woods, Tree Nursery and Greenhouse Grounds. Gas cannons and chainsaws were ruining the peace and quiet still, but the lakes did have 12 MALLARD and a little bit of variety with 2 CORMORANTS fishing there. Whilst at the lakes BULLFINCH, SISKIN and 2 GOLDCREST were noted around the bankside undergrowth.

Quickly moving out into the Wet Woods, there was no sign of a hoped for Teal, although I found a small mixed feeding flock, this included a TREECREEPER, 4 more Goldcrest, a couple of GREAT TITS and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER.

Out in the open of the Tree Nursery, quite a few small flocks of REDWING were seen going over, the largest was one containing 11 birds, also a single SKYLARK went over. In the nursery grounds amongst the shrubs, the 2 MEADOW PIPIT were found again, as were a pair of GRENWOODPECKERS, a few SONGTHRUSH flew from cover to cover, along with the plentiful BLACKBIRDS, and 4 GOLDFINCH fed on some Teasels, yet another 2 Goldcrest were also found in the boundary hedgerow.

I had time before dusk to have a look through the Greenhouse Grounds, where just a couple of LESSER REDPOLL and Siskin were in the Alders, a stand of tall seeding vegetation ( I dont know what type!) was providing food for no less than 6 DUNNOCKS, strange seeing a flock of Dunnock :-)  Overhead a KESTREL was hunting, and a COMMON BUZZARD flew low over, the only other flyovers of interest noted were HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS, the Greenhouse Copse was again good for seeing the LITTLE OWL, which I got a photo of, but it was disturbed by a dog walker before I got a decent photo chance! Great to be out again!  :-)
Little Owl at the Greenhouse Copse
Common Buzzard, flying over the Greenhouses, into the sun as usual
Common Buzzard

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Just a quick note to let you all know i'm still here!   :-)

The weather yesterday afternoon and again today, was just dire, being wet and dark. Gas canons, hedge destroyers (sorry trimmers!) , dog walkers, shooters and fishermen have all conspired to make venturing out pointless, (I did try!) the lakes hold the best chance of anything new turning up, but they are the most disturbed of all.

Maybe i'll feel different when the dryer weather arrives, which was meant to be today! There again maybe I just need a kick up the arse to get me inspired again   :-)

Monday 26 November 2012

This afternoon there wasn't a breath of wind, which made it feel very mild out, but I didn't venture too far from home as the sky was black with heavy rain clouds. I did a circuit of the now waterlogged Tree Nursery, finding the usual suspects, 4 MEADOW PIPIT, WRENS, ROBINS, CHAFFINCH, at least 8 SONGTHRUSHES, two GREEN WOODPECKERS, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and a a bit of a surprise 5 LINNETS. An impressive slow fly past from a COMMON BUZZARD was nice to watch, it alighted in the Wet Woods, where it was immediately seen off by two CARRION CROWS!

I crossed Ashes Lane and had a look around the Greenhouse Grounds, which is also completely waterlogged, finding the LESSER REDPOLLS, SISKINS and GOLDFINCH feeding in the Alder Trees again, the brambles below had more Wrens, and Robins, as well as eight DUNNOCK, two GOLDCREST, loads of BLACKBIRDS, two more Songthrush, and a mix of BLUE and GREAT TITS. One of the KESTREL pair was up hunting, and flyovers from YELLOWHAMMER, SKYLARK, MISTLETHRUSH, BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULL made it a busier visit than yesterday.

With the sun setting fast, and a huge black shower cloud approaching from the west, the light went quicker than normal, and by 15:45hrs I was watching a procession of PIED WAGTAILS head for their roost in the Greenhouses, I counted 60 birds, but I suspect I missed a few!  Also seen coming into roost were small numbers of STARLING, they were dropping into a clump of Leylandi trees in a nearby garden.

No photo's today, the blog folder has run dry  :-(

Sunday 25 November 2012

A short window of dry and sunny weather was experienced for this mornings full patch walk, before it turned grey and wet again for this afternoon  :-(

The brighter conditions were however tempered by a gale force wind, making it very difficult to locate most bird species, and the species total for the morning reached a less than average 39.

The Wet Woods was home to at least 4 GOLDCRESTS, and a TREECREEPER, plus a few BLUE and GREAT TITS. Nine MALLARDS, a CORMORANT, two MOORHEN and a GREY HERON were at the Lakes, the adjacent garden had the MARSH TIT at their feeders, my feeders are obviously not good enough anymore!

The Tree Nursery had 4 MEADOW PIPITS today, plus the resident KESTREL pair hunting over it, 3 SONGTHRUSH and 2 REDWING flew from the vegetation, and 3 GREYLAG GEESE flew over whilst I was there. The Greenhouse Grounds was of more interest, with a party of 4 LESSER REDPOLL, 6 SISKIN and 8 GOLDFINCH seen in the Alders again.

A walk round the College Grounds provided a few regular common species, with the highlight being a KINGFISHER on one of the ponds, and a fly through SPARROWHAWK. Species not seen today, that could of been anticipated, were; Pheasant, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Long Tailed Tit, Mistlethrush, and Fieldfare.

I took the camera out this morning and got a photo of both the Redpoll and Siskin at the Greenhouse Grounds, it was hard work though, as they were being tossed around by the wind!
Lesser Redpoll
Lesser Redpoll
Lesser Redpoll
This afternoon I watched my garden feeders for a while, where I was treated to a GREEN WOODPECKER, only the second one ever to come into my garden, this is the 36th garden species for the year, which equals the best annual total achieved in my garden, 36 species were also recorded in the previous two years.The November garden total moves on to 26, two better than the second best November tally.
Green Woodpecker. Amazing how the camera coped with the conditions, this photo was taken through rain splattered double glazing, with some very dark light levels.
The JAYS continue to frequent the garden too.

Saturday 24 November 2012

As was expected, this mornings full patch walk was aborted after two hours, due to the continuous rain, I only got half way round before getting totally fed up with the wet stuff! I manged just 33 species, with very few highlights, one of those though was finding a small mixed feeding flock in the Greenhouse Grounds, the Alders there were providing food for at least 5 LESSER REDPOLL, 4 SISKIN and 8 GOLDFINCH. One KESTREL was up hunting over the Tree Nursery, where 3 MEADOW PIPITS were seen.The only flyovers noticed were those of HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULL.

The rain is still falling as I write this at 16:00hrs, how much more is to come ?

The photo folder is down to its last two images, taken from my garden in last Sundays glorious sunshine, - the ROBIN.

Friday 23 November 2012

The wind and rain has relented for now, and I was able to walk my usual afternoon  'winter' circuit of my patch.

The footpaths over to the Wet Woods are now streams, or liquified mud, and the Wet Woods themselves are brimming with water, there were four MALLARDS feeding here, but no sign of a Teal or Mandarin Duck yet. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS called, as did a TRECREEPER, other than that it was still and peaceful ( for once!).

On the Lakes today there was nothing, not a single duck or Moorhen, obviously it had been heavily disturbed during the morning, I did see a KINGFISHER there though, with BULLFINCH, COAL TIT, and NUTHATCH seen in the Scrubby Woods.

Over at the Tree Nursery the two MEADOW PIPITS were seen again, as well as at least 4 SONGTHRUSH, two SKYLARK flew overhead, and minutes later a SPARROWHAWK went past, clutching its prey.

A KESTREL was hunting over the Greenhouse Grounds, and a small mixed flock of GOLDFINCH, LESSER REDPOLL and SISKIN were feeding in the Alders there, about 18 birds were seen in all. A very quick look over at the Greenhouse Copse was worth while, as good views of the pale LITTLE OWL were had.

Nothing at all was seen of any winter thrushes, but the weather is hardly winter like, even more rain and strong winds are forecast for this weekend, so it may be a bit hit and miss with my full patch walks  :-(

This STARLING was the only poser for the Camera today, but ive added some Great Spotted Woodpecker shots from last weekend  :-)
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Thursday 22 November 2012

After two days of not getting out on my patch, I managed a couple of hours this afternoon, conditions weren't ideal with a strong SW wind blowing, but at least it strayed dry. Three GREEN WOODPECKERS were feeding in their favoured area on the large lawns adjacent to the Small Holding, also seen here were two REDWINGS. A circuit of the Wet Woods, had me peering into the tangled branches over the pools of water, hoping that a Teal would be brave enough to turn up and defy the stream of dog walkers that pass through, I wasn't in luck though  :-( Just three MALLARDS and two MOORHENS were found. Above, in the almost now bare canopy of mainly Oak Trees, the wind was roaring through, but I just heard the call of a GOLDCREST, then found two as they dropped down lower into the woods, a few BLUE and GREAT TITS were with them.

Over on the lakes five more Mallard were seen, and just one Moorhen, but the CORMORANT fishing there made a bit of change from those regulars  ;-)  I think I probably heard a BULLFINCH call over the noise of the wind, but more definite was the SISKIN that came in calling, finally alighting in the Scrubby Woods.

I finished up over at the Tree Nursery and Greenhouse Grounds, where the usual regulars were on offer, those being KESTREL, WREN, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, PIED WAGTAIL, CHAFFINCH, another two Goldcrests, plus lots of Corvids and WOODPIGEONS. A typical November afternoons fare for Pittswood :-)

Nothing showed for the Camera today, so its back to raiding the garden photo's I took last weekend  ;-) These are the Coal Tits.
Coal Tit
Coal Tit
Coal tit
Coal tit

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Yet again the weather prevented any patch walk this afternoon, heavy rain and gales battered the area for a time this afternoon, and it barely got light at all, even my garden feeders were quite in the conditions :-(

The only thing to report was that a single male HOUSE SPARROW briefly visited the garden, the first to do so since October 7th! This is the 25th species to visit my garden this month - the best November list for the garden since I moved here 13 years ago  :-)

A few more garden images from last weekend  -:
I'd set up a bowl of peanuts below this convenient perch, hoping that the Jay would be enticed to sit here, which it eventually did (see below) but not before this WREN had a look in first !
Two hours of waiting brought me a photographic opportunity eventually  ;-)

Tuesday 20 November 2012

The weather kept me from a patch walk this afternoon, wind and rain moved through, so I watched the garden feeders for an hour or so. I did however still manage a new species for the November list when 44 CANADA GEESE (64) flew over the College Grounds as I walked to work this morning, better late than never! The Canada Geese move the November tally on to 64, which is the third best November total out of eleven, 2 behind the 66 species found in both 2008 and 2011, but still 4 behind the record total achieved in 2010.

Meanwhile back at my garden feeders there was no sign of yesterdays star bird, the Mistlethrush, but the likes of NUTHATCH (2), COAL TIT (3), MARSH TIT, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (2) and JAY (3) as well as the more numerous GREAT TITS (5), BLUE TITS (15), GOLDFINCH'S (6) and CHAFFINCH'S (6) all stayed around for as long as the SPARROWHAWK was away, which was more than recently, just one failed attack was seen  :-)

WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, WOODPIGEON, and MAGPIE, all visited in singles, as did a GREENFINCH, where on earth have they all gone ?  A couple of BLACKBIRDS, and 3 COLLARED DOVES made up the species seen today, still no Starlings or House Sparrows though  :-(

Here's a few blog brighteners taken at the weekend  :-)
One of the pair of Kestrels that hunt around the Greenhouse Grounds/Tree Nursery

Monday 19 November 2012

The ninety minutes I spent out on my patch this afternoon was quite a useful visit, I went over to the Lakes in some gloomy conditions ( yes back to the gloom again!) via the Small Holding, where the gang of GREEN WOODPECKERS that reside there were joined by 6 REDWING today, a bonfire had been lit in the Wet Woods, not sure whats happening there, so I went straight to the lakes. A KINGFISHER was seen briefly here, and the MALLARDS had increased from 2 birds to 12, the most seen here for months, with them were the usual scattering of MOORHENS.

In the adjacent Scrubby Woods I came across the LONG TAILED TIT flock that I saw yesterday morning, it had 2 GOLDCRESTS and a TREECREEPER with it, as well as small numbers of both BLUE and GREAT TIT, at least 3 BULLFINCH were heard to call too.

I left the lakes quite quickly, in order to get over to the Tree Nursery and Pub field before dusk fell, and as I came out of the Wet Woods I saw 3 STOCK DOVES (62) drop into a large Oak in a nearby garden - good to get them on the November list at last!

I reached the Pub Field expecting the usual, but today, as well as the WOODPIGEONS, there were at least 50 ROOKS, 4 MISTLETHRUSH and a solitary LAPWING (63) the first this month   :-) On to the Tree Nursery and the best on offer here were a flock of 8 GOLDFINCH, the long staying pair of MEADOW PIPITS and more Green Woodpeckers. As I stood watching the sky, I followed a flock of a dozen Redwing going over, when they suddenly dropped dramatically into the cover of a tree, I looked around and found the reason, of course, a SPARROWHAWK!  The KESTREL pair were watched for a few minutes, and small numbers of FIELDFARES were seen moving around the area, but dusk soon drew down so I headed off home, a good visit though :-)

Once home I had a scan of the garden feeders from my study window, then noticed a movement in my small holly tree, no not a Waxwing  :-)  but a Mistlethrush a real scarce bird in my garden, this is just the third in 12 years, the last was in April 2008, the Garden Species list moves on to 35 for this year now.  I took some photo's of it through the double glazing, and with the camera on ISO 2500 they were surprisingly reasonable, despite the near dark conditions!
This photo, and the one below were taken with the exposure compensation set to  minus'1' rather than '0', but it just made things worse I think, sometimes it pays to experiment though  :-)
This Mistlethrush may well of been the same one, I took this photo yesterday afternoon, it was in the tall tree in my neighbors garden

Sunday 18 November 2012

A view of the College stream (actually the river Bourne)
The last remnants of yesterdays cloud cover delayed the sunshine first thing this morning, but by 08:15hrs the sky was bright, blue and sunny, staying that way right through to dusk - a real treat  :-)

Once the warmth of the sunshine started to come through the birds started to make themselves visible, not in great numbers, but more so than in recent visits. Amongst the days species tally of 44, were the SISKINS, a few flew over calling, but most were at the College stream, feeding in the Alder Trees, again about 60 birds were present. TREECREEPER, MISTLE THRUSH, SONGTHRUSH, GOLDFINCH, GREENFINCH, two female BULLFINCH and flyovers from LESSER REDPOLL, YELLOWHAMMER, FIELDFARE and REDWING were the more notable birds recorded as I walked the College Grounds.

Walking back over to Migrant Alley to get to the Pub Field and Tree Nursery was mostly a case of recording more flyover species, GREYLAG GOOSE was one, but I still havn't seen a Canada Goose yet this month - or a Stock Dove  :-( Two female PHEASANTS flew from the Tree Nursery, ive not seen many this Autumn, also here were the two MEADOW PIPITS and the usual three or four GREEN WOODPECKERS.

Over at the Lakes and Scrubby Woods it was an average affair, 3 MALLARDS and a dozen MOORHEN were the usual species on the water, but this morning a Greylag Goose had joined them. In the Adjacent Scrubby Woods, JAYS and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS called, as well as at least 3 more Bullfinch. I moved on to the Wet Woods quite quickly, and found a reasonable sized feeding flock, containing at least twelve LONG TAILED TITS, four GOLDCREST, two more Treecreeepers for the day, and two more Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a NUTHATCH also tagged along, as wells a few BLUE and GREAT TITS.

A short skywatch around 10:30hrs from my seat at Migrant Alley produced the usual HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS, but not the hoped for Common Gull, two BUZZARDS and a SPARROWHAWK went over, and the KESTREL pair were hunting over the Greenhouse Grounds/Tree Nursery.

Not a bad visit, a new species for the November list would have put some icing on the 5 hour walk though  :-)

I got some kind of photo's from the feeding flock in the Wet Woods, I was bit like a kid in a sweet shop, all those birds feeding just feet from me, I should of just followed one bird at a time, but kept changing to another, in the end I didn't get any photo's in the sunnier parts of the vegetation!

As well as the photo's below, I got a few from my garden this afternoon, where 19 species visited the feeders, but not one House sparrow or Starling was among them! I'll post the garden shots through this coming week  :-)
Long Tailed Tit
Long Tailed Tit

Saturday 17 November 2012

After no patch visit yesterday due to the dreadfully dull, misty and wet conditions, I was eager to get out at first light this morning for a full patch walk. Initially the weather remained dull and drizzly, but it lifted by mid morning, to leave some brighter spells.

There were few birds about during the 3 and a half hour visit, and the days species total reached a little below average 41, but there were some highlights for me, notably a decent sized flock of SISKIN that were in Alder Trees along the College Stream, at least 60 were seen. A KINGFISHER was also seen at the College Gardens on one of the small ponds there, another Kingfisher was found over at the lakes too, where a GREY HERON was also seen, as well as at least 10 MOORHEN, but the only ducks involved 3 MALLARD. In the adjacent Scrubby Woods, a party of at least 4 BULLFINCH plus a TREECREEPER were about the best of it.

Flyover species made up a large part of todays list, with the likes of HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, FIELDFARE, REDWING, LESSER REDPOLL, YELLOWHAMMER and another 2 Grey herons all passing through. Just one KESTREL was seen up hunting over the Tree Nursery today, and the SPARROWHAWK was seen successfully hunting in a hedgerow at Migrant Alley, taking a DUNNOCK by the looks of it.

A flock of a dozen LONG TAILED TITS were located at the Greenhouse Grounds, they were joined by 2 or 3 each of GREAT and BLUE TITS, as well as 2 GOLDCRESTS.

Around midday, a brief spell of sunshine was had, allowing me to grab some garden bird photo's. Here's a selection, i'll put more up during this coming week, when it gets dark and wet again!  :-)

Great Tit

Thursday 15 November 2012

 This morning, whilst walking to work, I finally managed to add a Goose species to the November list when 3 GREYLAG GEESE (61) flew over Migrant Alley, this Novembers tally now moves on to 61, putting it in fifth position out of 11.

Low cloud slowly dispersed during this afternoons patch visit, and by dusk it was cool and clear. I took a walk over to the lakes first off, but the trainee tree surgeons were again in the large garden which is adjacent to the water, I must remember to avoid Thursdays over there !

Needless to say not a thing was on the water, but a KINGFISHER was seen flitting across it. I stayed very briefly before moving on to the Tree Nursery, where the KESTRELS spent some time hunting before trying their luck at the Green House Grounds. Also of note were two COMMON BUZZARDS that flew low over, and the two MEADOW PIPITS were still amongst the shrubs and rough grassland.

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
A look around the Greenhouse Grounds provided me with some nice views of LESSER REDPOLL, SISKIN and GOLDFINCH as they fed in a line of alder trees, the usual WRENS, DUNNOCKS, BLACKBIRDS and ROBINS were seen, and flyover FIELDFARE, REDWING, PIED WAGTAIL, BLACK HEADED GULL and HERRING GULL were noted. The sun dipped below the horizon all too quickly, signalling the passage of ROOKS and JACKDAWS across the sky heading to roost.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

With wall to wall sunshine this afternoon, it was a real pleasure to be out and about, I might not of seen an awful lot, but the sunshine really cheered me up, after the almost constant gloom of late.

I didn't visit the lakes today, instead I walked the Tree Nursery, Pub Field, Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, not an awful lot was of note though, just about normal for this time of day at this time of year. More GREEN WOODPECKERS were seen, FIELDFARES and REDWINGS were about in very small numbers,  the pair of KESTRELS hunted over the area, as did a SPARROWHAWK and a few wintery bits and pieces flew over, including the likes of LESSER REDPOLL, SISKIN and SKYLARK.

Two LITTLE OWLS were found at roost, one at the Greenhouse copse, the other in a large garden adjacent to Migrant Alley, but neither allowed a photograph today. Two GOLDCREST were again seen at the Greenhouse Grounds but that was about it really for this afternoon.

I still need 8 new species for this months list just to equal the record November tally of 68, achieved in 2010, the most likely of those are Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Common Gull and Stock Dove, that still leaves a lot to do to set a new November species record! At least there is still half the month to go though  :-)

Not much for the camera today despite the nice light, but here's what i did get .........
COAL TIT at the garden feeders, in the dying evening light
Coal Tit