Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Local Day Out!

Wigram's Turn Marina
I could not have asked for a more beautiful day today as I hosted several of the Brandon Marsh team on a tour of my local patch.

Taking visitors around your local area is always a pleasure, but as ever in these situations birds which you see everyday as a normality yourself always have a tendency to let you down! Oh Raven's why do you mock me so!!!

We began on a frosty but gorgeous morning at the church on Napton Hill just after 8am, a well known migration hotspot and an area over the past few months I've personally registered Firecrest, Wheatear and Stonechat. Today a good look around the church grounds, which was awash with birds in every tree, produced lots of species including Redwing, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal Tit and at least 8 Goldcrest.

After the church we made our way past Church Leys Farm and up to the current windmill, a windmill has stood proudly on this spot since 1543. However, the present stone-built tower mill is a later structure that was derelict in 1966 but has since been restored and is now a private residence. As you approach the windmill entrance a footpath leads immediately to the right and once through the gate affords superb high level views of the local countryside.

Peter looking non too Pleased!!
Here we spent a good while scanning the area for visible migration and also hoping for something exciting that may have dropped in overnight. Unfortunately the only moment of real excitement was when Peter went skidding down the path arse over  t**. I must take full responsibility having coaxed him down and felt very guilty for the rest of the day, but it does bring a smile to my face every time I recall it, sorry Peter!!

Another good look around the church grounds, coffee and a dusting down of Peter before moving off to Napton Reservoir in the hope of catching up with the Bearded Tit, which I was fortunate to see on Sunday. As you would imagine several twitchers were on site when we arrived : I'm sad to say too that a couple of guys on the private mooring side of the reedbed let the birding fraternity down once again, guys you were on private residence moorings and you should not have been there!! the bird I'm afraid remained elusive during our stay.

A good array of other species observed though with Pochard, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler and Common Gull on the water and Snipe feeding to the side. Sparrowhawk and Kestrel overhead along with excellent numbers of Fieldfare and Skylark, several of which were resting in a nearby Field.

Lunch at the marina was superb as we spent an hour on the waterside watching flock after flock of Fieldfare coming through, also picking up Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard and Kingfisher. The surprise of the hour were 2 late juvenile Swallows which flew in, perching briefly on the nearby telephone wires before continuing south. Unfortunately our population of Tree Sparrow which I'd hoped to show off were nowhere to be found, and although we did hear the cronk cronk of Raven on Napton Hill we never did manage to see one! A superb day out nevertheless and despite nothing too rare cropping up (apart from Peter actually getting dirty!!) a good time was had by all.