Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Diary Update #1 ~ 2017

Little Owl ~ Nice bird to have on the patch!
Sunday 8th January... Dee and I decided to take a walk around the local patch in the afternoon in need of some fresh air after a very lazy Saturday! Our first port of call was to take a look at a local Little Owl. Sadly these birds like many others are declining in numbers but the particular area we visit seems to have sustained at least one bird over the years. In fact I'm certain that this particular individual visits the marina on odd occasions too!

From here a towpath walk took us up to Calcott Locks and then around the perimeter of Napton Reservoir. Lots of Redwing and Fieldfare now ground feeding and a huge flock of some 300+ Lapwings flew high from the west across towards Napton-on-the-Hill. The water had the usual selection of wildfowl which included on note: (5) Wigeon, (5) Gadwall, (30+) Tufted Duck but strangely not a single Great Crested Grebe! A Raven, my first of 2017 was also noted in flight!

Crossbill ~ Female of a pair seen at Lynford Arboretum!
Monday 9th January... A day in Norfolk with Alan Boddington began at Lynford Arboretum shortly after 9am. Our target bird was Hawfinch with the favoured observation point the 'Paddocks', a well known spot to search the hornbeam for these notably illusive birds, Brambling, Siskin, Mistle Thrush and Marsh Tit on route! Our first attempt proved fruitless so we decided to try Lynford Pools on the opposite side of the car park and return a short while later. At the pools Little Egret, (3) Goosander and a brace of Egyptian Geese. We'd arranged to meet up with Jim, Pete, Fred and Trevor from the Brandon team who were spending a few days in Norfolk but the guys were delayed having diverted across to Newmarket in search of the now infamous Orphean Warbler! They actually dipped during their short stay but later found out that the bird is now thought to be a Lesser Whitethroat! After meeting up it was back to the 'Paddocks' for another vigil and while here more Marsh Tit, probably five in total today, plus a bonus find with a gorgeous pair of Crossbill. I'm happy to report that a single Hawfinch finally appeared in the Hornbeam and while heading back to the car park eight more Brambling.

Crossbill ~ Bonus find at Lynford!
The forecasted rain had now arrived so it was off to RSPB Titchwell for year-ticks with a stop at Cholsey Drying Barns, where (20+) Red-legged Partridge and (3) Grey Partridge were recorded, plus a fly over 150+ Pink-footed Geese. Titchwell was wet and windy but we managed a single Brambling on the feeders before heading onto the reserve. At least two Marsh Harrier to begin and a scan of the drained Thornham pool produced a single Water Pipit feeding along the right hand channel. The tidal, brackish and freshwater marsh produced an array of wader year-ticks and included Grey, Golden and Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, (3) Spotted Redshank, Knot and Avocet.

At the beach the rain had paused sufficiently for a sea-watch, although the conditions were a little challenging in the stiff breeze and the light was dreadful! At sea: Long-tailed Duck, 300+ Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser but despite a valiant attempt no definite claims of Velvet Scoter. More waders included Turnstone, Oystercatcher and Sanderling. A final bonus bird for Alan and I back at the car park, unfortunately while the other guys were in the toilet, was a fly over Woodcock! A great end to an exceptional day!