Thursday, 14 January 2010

Birding Holywell with Holywell Birding.

A Frozen Pond Again!

14th January. Yes the 14th day of the year and I had yet to do some birding off patch so it was pleasing to leave the patch, with its fresh layer of snow behind as Cain drove me down to Holywell. Once we had arrived I found the temperatures to be almost Mediterranean in comparison to what it had been like on our previous visit in December. The layers of clothing may had had some effect on the feel of things. I noted that the pond was even more frozen over than it had been in December. A single Shoveller was there amongst the Mallards. A lone Teal too was there too, and a small flock of Wigeon. Gulls included Black Headed, Common and Herring Gull and of course the usual Coot and Moorhen. On our arrival the feeding station was empty of life, but my hopes of seeing the recent Brambling visitors lifted as several Chaffinch flew in, but it wasn’t to be. Great Tit, BlueTit, Dunnock, Goldfinch and Greenfinch joined the Chaffinches. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the trees on the opposite side of the pond. When we moved to the public hide we found that area a desert of ice.

As we followed the path towards the dene, a Redshank was heard. A small flock of Greylag Geese had been seen in the fields. I wondered if the larger flocks of geese might be on the opposite side of the dene and in fact Cain picked up their calls. We commented on the lack of Lapwing just before a small flock flew overhead. A handful of what I am sure where Linnets flew over the fields where it is usual to see a larger flock. Four Red-Legged Partridge were picked up in the fields. As we approached closer to the dene another Great Spotted Woodpecker was picked up, which was followed by several more sightings as we walked through the dene.

The snowy footpath made the dene a bit of an obstacle course, well it did for me anyway and our talk of past falls into rivers and streams was I thought perhaps tempting fate but I managed to survive with dignity intact. The burn was still running deep and fast but had changed colour from the muddy brown of December to a blue grey. Cain got his eye on a Dipper flying down the burn. His hat was in the way so I missed it! So we walked back to the bridge and I picked it up on one of the boulders. Neither of us had seen Dipper in the dene for probably over two years and for me it was the bird of the day. Is it my imagination or are feeding stations popping up everywhere in the dene? They were quite busy with Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Robin and Blackbirds. Neither of us has seen Nuthatch or Treecreeper here for a while.

As I stopped to eat my sandwich Cain sighted a Sparrowhawk which seemed to be sussing out one of the feeding stations, but our presence seemed to ensure that it disappeared into the woodland. I can only assume that it was this excitement which made Cain develop hiccups! ;-) Thankfully this appeared to flush out flocks of Long Tailed Tits and Goldfinch. This remided me of my find of White Headed Duck in Andalucia which was only found when one of the party gave out a very loud sneeze and flushed it from the reeds.
Cain had failed his test of finding me Woodcock, but I had enjoyed the birding and chat so thought it best not to mention this to him. On the journey back to the snows of Killy we found Greater Black Backed Gulls amongst a large flock A great few hours with a species list of forty.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still the Woodcock whisperer :P, but they don't come out when I have comapny haha, it was a really good day, and I'm pleased we seen the Dipper.