Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year

The Humble House Sparrow
With family and friends taking precedence over birding during the festive period it was great to finally get back out into the field today! A great start too as sitting atop one of the marina telephone poles as I walked to the car, a Little Owl was clearly silhouetted against the brightening sky.

My first stop was Brandon Marsh and looking at the weather forecast for the week ahead I probably picked the best day, a chilly start with clear skies, something we don't seem to see much of these days.

A check from the road bridge looking across Sheepfield before entering the reserve produced an early Kestrel but sadly no Owls. Passing the Sheepfield gate a Song Thrush was happily singing and 5 Jackdaw passed overhead. New Hare Covert had 5 long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker, and by the time I reached the Newlands bench 2 Raven came cronking over and several Feildfare, Siskin, Goldfinch and Redwing had also been recorded.

As I approached the Wright Hide a Buzzard was seen taking flight from New Hare Covert, and a small wader was in flight along with the circa 500 Lapwing flock, which had been spooked by a Sparrowhawk seen heading east. A scan from within the hide confirmed 3 Dunlin and also recorded on East Marsh Pool were 14 Wigeon, 4 Pochard and a pair of Goldeneye. Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Teal were in good numbers plus a lone Great Crested Grebe, my first at Brandon for some time. Mixed in with around 150 Black-headed Gulls was a single Herring Gull, 3 Common Gull and 2 Lesser Black Backed.

At Big Hide I managed to pick up 8 Snipe, camouflaged nicely on Wigeon Bank in the short reed near the waters edge. On my return to the car 4 Lesser Redpoll were feeding on the Alder near the volunteers car park.

This afternoon Dee and I cycled around the local patch which was alive with literally hundred's of Fieldfare. A Kestrel was perched near the turn towards Napton Reservoir and Stockton Road held around 25 House Sparrows as we approached the Crossroads Garage. A brief view of 5 of the marina's Tree Sparrow population and a lone Yellowhammer as we cycled back down the path towards our mooring.

Some excellent views of the International Space Station as it headed east around 16:55 ended an excellent day.