Saturday, 8 December 2012

Winter Wildfowl return

Since I saw the Waxwings earlier in the week, I've not had a chance to check the neighbourhood birds as it's pretty much still dark when I leave for work and dusk when I return. So today I went for a little drive along the back road to see if any of winter's birds have returned during this last icy week.

Saturday 8th December 2012
Partridges everywhere.
Excuse the picture quality
- camera pointed through binoculars
A young peregrine has certainly been scattering the pigeons of late and I can see a sizeable flock, maybe forty, of Mute Swans loafing in the distant fields.

But the first thing to strike me on today's little excursion was a newly ploughed field jam packed full with Red-legged Partridges.
I counted at least 48, but then heads kept appearing from behind the furrows so there could well have been quite a few more.

Not much further along the road, another procession of the same species appeared from a dyke and scurried along the edge of a field.

There seemed to be fewer Fieldfares around today and much smaller numbers of Redwings, though this changes daily, depending on overnight conditions. And it was no surprise that I failed to find any more Waxwings. Although the chances of stumbling upon a gang of these is significantly increased at the moment, they are still a rare find.

On the South Holland Main Drain it was good to see a party of five Goosanders back. They happily preen and feed on the still water right next to the car, but as soon as I open the window to attempt a piccie, off they go along the river. A couple of Little Grebes under the bridge were new in too. If only these would somehow show themselves when I was stood on my farm. This species is so near yet so far from making it onto the farm list. Further along, small numbers of teal have joined the mallards in the wider dykes.

The flock of Mute Swans was nowhere to be seen this morning, dashing my hopes of finding any 'wild' swans in amongst them. But I did get to follow a sparrowhawk as it repeatedly flew along in front of the car, occasionally jinking into the hedge to upset the hordes of wood pigeons. A few magpies put up more of a protest and their cousins, two jays, just continued hopping around inconspicuously in the bare branches.

And that was about it. Nothing amazing, but a welcome distraction from an afternoon of moving boxes into the newly boarded loft and clearing all the furniture from our bedroom in readiness for new floorboards.

Friday 7th December 2012
Yesterday's 'sunrise'
Worthy of demotion to the bottom of the page!

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