Saturday, February 04, 2012

Winter Walk

Bank Vole
After a slightly late night my alarm went off as normal this morning at 6:30am, but I think it was the reminder of last nights red wine and a temperature of -9C outside that persuaded me to have a little lie in.

Once recovered I decided to head for Brandon Marsh for a winter walk before the afternoons forecasted snow sets in and arrived around 9.30am. One reason for my visit was to have a good look around Horsetail Glade in search of a possible Lesser Spotted Woodpecker I'm sure I caught a brief glimpse of on Thursday morning. Despite spending a good 45 minute trawl of the area I came up with a blank but did manage Willow Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, one of which was drumming.

From here and in the knowledge that the pools were thoroughly frozen I thought a brisk walk of the paths would be best. Not surprisingly only a few hardy souls were about, one guy telling me he'd sighted a Woodcock in flight over Central Marsh. Three Raptors during my walk, a very vocal Common Buzzard, plus Kestrel and Sparrowhawk.

Song Thrush
One thing I did notice today were good numbers of Song Thrush, Redwing and Dunnock all foraging in the wooded areas for wind fall, particularly now that the berry stocks have been completely depleted. Also, with the ground frozen solid and an eerie calm I could here lots of movement at ground level, mostly Grey Squirrel, which seem to have exploded in population over recent months, but I was rewarded with 3 Bank Vole and a Wood Mouse for my patience.

Two small flocks of Lesser Redpoll and Siskin were busy feeding in the Alders and several Jays were having a set-to in New Hare Covert when I came through. Also seen of note during my walk: Long-tailed Tit (6), Goldcrest (2), ♂♀Bullfinch and 3 Snipe in flight over Newlands!