Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunday Afternoon on Patch

Root-de-doo-de-doo, a-root-de-doot-de doy di
A-root-de doot de dum, a-ree-de-dee-de-doo dee - doo doo ....
There's no one to hear me, there's nothing to say
And no one can stop me from feeling this way - yeah
Lazy Sunday afternoon
I've got no mind to worry
Close my eyes and drift away
Small Faces

18th Nov.  Having received a call from Sam it didn’t take me long to say yes to a walk out on patch today.  I’m afraid I did put it off until 1:00pm when perhaps the best light was already disappearing, but I don’t think it spoilt our afternoon at all.

Starting at the lake we found that numbers of Canada Geese remain high.  Common Gull numbers have now increased and we found one Little Grebe.  There were only two Goosanders on the lake today and we think some are flying between different areas.  Maybe more will arrive soon.  Only one pair of Goldeneye was found.  We decided that the lake wasn’t going to offer much more today so we headed towards the village area instead of doing the circuit of the lake.  This area too was quiet, although we had a nice sighting of Goldcrest in the church grounds as we looked at an interesting grave-stone.  Goldfinch, Chaffinch and tits were in the hedges.  I haven’t seen any sign of Nuthatch in this area since the very cold winter of two years ago.

It wasn’t until we had almost reached the Killingwoth/Holystone wagon-way that things began to pick up with a sighting of circa fifty Lapwings flying in the distance, but gradually approaching us.  They were accompanied by flocks of corvids and Starlings.  These flocks lifted from time to time throughout the rest of our walk.  We also found a flock of at least a dozen Long-tailed Tits moving through the hedge and then another flock further along the road making a total of twenty plus Long-tailed Tits.  Other birds nearby included, Robins, Wren, Blackbirds, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Dunnock.   We’ve wondered about the possibility of Barn Owl in this area, but have never seen one.

Once onto the wagon-way it was initially quite again apart from the Lapwing flock.  Sam caught sight of a Song Thrush.  Things did pick up however.

We had hoped for winter thrushes but other than the Song Thrush we initially found only Blackbirds and Mistle Thrushes.  Then we found the first of a pair of Kestrels.  It showed really well at times as it hovered in front of us before perching.  I remembered the the slow motion filming of a Kestrel on the David Attenborough programme on Friday, which had shown so well the movements of the bird as it hovers and just how still the head remains throughout.  This bird today faced away from us and each tail feather could be seen perfectly as they spread out.  A Grey Heron was seen flying to and from the small flash.

As we moved on we found Linnet and at least six Reed Buntings in the hedge along with a single Yellowhammer.  A Greenfinch made its familiar call from above our heads.  I do have quite a good eye for catching sight of birds, but I’m wondering if I’m quite as quick as Sam these days as he caught sight of the Common Buzzard in almost the same place as we had found it along with the Red Kite when we were down this way recently.  The Common Buzzard flew off as it was harassed by a Carrion Crow.  We found it again later.

The view to the southwest was marred only by the electric pylons.  The sky was showing varying tones of blue as the light was beginning to fade.  The Lapwings continued to occasionally lift from the ploughed field.  Three Siskin flew from the hedge and more sightings were made of Reed Buntings.
I heard more Mistle Thrushes in the fields to the left of us, and behind them were at least twenty Fieldfare.  I saw one Redwing with them before we had a small flock of maybe fifteen or so Redwing fly over our heads.

There was no shortage of Magpies about today, but on reflection I seem to remember far fewer Wood Pigeon than I would normally see in this area.  We were almost home as it turned 4:00pm.  It would soon be dark.  One of the last birds I recall seeing was Collared Dove.  This time last year we had watched Short-eared Owls in this area.  I seem to recall it had been the first ones Sam had seen.  There were none today, but having seen so many during intervening period, I don’t think you’ll hear either of us complain.

Sam and I had given a presentation to the Northumberland Dry Stone Wall Association on Wednesday.  We had both being coming down with heavy colds and our voices had hardly gone the distance, so today’s walk in the cool but fresh air probably helped us to recover.  It was certainly cool as we noticed an area unlit by the sun was still thickly covered in frost.  It had been a very rewarding afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah It's nice birding when it's fresh.

    I hope walking in the cool air can help me to recover from colds too (given how many coughs/sneezes I seem to be getting, lol).