Monday, January 19, 2015

Round Up!

Despite the lack of posts I've certainly been out and about around the local patch and have managed several visits to Brandon Marsh and a quick catch up at Draycote Water. Only managed the ♂Smew and brace of Common Scoter during my visit to Draycote and got totally wet through for my efforts. A big thank you to Mr Hazell for standing me coffee and cake in the cafe while drying off.

My visits to Brandon tend to be pre dawn affairs, I've always felt Brandon is best before mid morning. Tawny Owls have been very vocal and I've managed a couple of Barn Owl sightings, with birds apparently using both boxes on Newlands to roost. Not managed to catch up with a very illusive Bittern thus far, despite the bird being very regular before Christmas just prior to dawn.

Sundays Brandon visit threw up my first Woodcock of the year while waiting for the no show Bittern. Plus later in the morning very brief views of a single Jack Snipe among a half dozen Common Snipe on Teal Pool, ably spotted once again by Mr Hood! A single Shelduck has graced East Marsh Pool, along with varying small numbers of Goldeneye and Pochard. A Little Egret has been quite regular over January but no sign over the last couple of visits. Last Friday I spent a good half hour watching a pair of Marsh Tits in New Hare Covert, constantly calling with that amazing 'pitchoo' call, so no ID issues to contend with.

Robins everywhere at Brandon!
The Great Tits are now singing throughout the reserve and I dare say it won't be long before the Song Thrush's do the same too, yes its time to set out their territories once again. Robins are everywhere, there's at least one wintering Chiffchaff to be found and a reasonably sized flock of mixed Siskin/Lesser Redpoll, but the prize for the local year list has to be the illusive Bittern!

Friday, January 02, 2015

The New Year

A Very Happy New Year to my reader! Yes it's time once again to begin planning the birding calendar and of course if your lucky enough a chance to travel a little farther afield. Currently planned for 2015 are trips to France, Spain, Iceland and Oregon State in the U.S, somewhere we're very much looking forward to. To start with though a nice leisurely beginning to the birding year and a stroll around the Forestry Commissions Chambers Farm Wood with the wife and friends on New Years Day.

First bird of 215 - Fieldfare
The wood is at the heart of the Lincolnshire Limewoods and part of the Bardney Limewoods National Nature Reserve. This is one of the largest woodlands in the area and is located on the site of several medieval woodlands. It's a mix of ancient woodland, plantation, meadows, rides and ponds. The walk also gave me the opportunity to get the year list off the mark. Ordinarily I'm not a great list maker but this year I've decided to compile at the very least a European and UK year list. First bird of the year a Fieldfare and by the time we arrived back at the cottage all the regulars were in the bag: Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow and Blackbird, plus the additions of Siskin, Treecreeper, Jay and Goldcrest.

One of several pups to be found!
Today we headed off for a very bracing stroll around Donna Nook National Nature Reserve, renown for it's breeding Grey Seals. Keen to show our friends I wasn't too sure if any Grey Seal pups would still be around and to my surprise I wasn't disappointed. At least a half dozen pups were located but alone and resting up for the journey out to sea, around a mile or so from here. Apparently they are weaned for around three weeks and then left to fend for themselves. They all seemed to be doing quite well and hopefully will make the short journey soon according to the wardens.

More pups! You've just gotta love em!
Despite birding not being the priority for me today I did manage further additions to the year list with: Turnstone, Redshank, Dunlin, Knot, Brent Goose, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, a large flock of around forty Goldfinch and the usual selection of gulls.