Monday, 25 January 2016

Temperature Rising

Well, my temperature is rising, got my feet on the floor
Crazy people rocking 'cause they want to some more
Let me in baby, I don't know what you got
But you better take it easy 'cause this place is hot
Spencer Davis Group

24th Jan.  This month is flying by!  It wasn’t so much the excitement of birds sightings that brought on the perspiration today, no it was the rising temperatures, although I have to say that out on the open fields at Holywell, that cooling breeze still had me reaching for the hat, so thoughts of the Mediterranean soon vanished.  Thoughts weren’t the only thing to have vanished today, as a thorough search suggested that the geese had ‘Bean and gone,’ the Bean Goose probably to Big Waters I heard, and White-fronted Geese to where ever.  We did have a skein of silent Pink-footed Geese overhead and flocks of calling Greylag.  Canada Geese were seen at the pond.  We initially thought that the Mandarin Drake had left the pond too, but our third visit to public hide in the afternoon gave us a good sighting of it as it preened itself on the water.

Some thought was given to the hybrid duck on the water which we finally agreed was more than likely a Pochard/Tufted Duck cross.  We initially had quite a lot of time to consider this one as there wasn’t very much else about.

My soaring (by my standards) 2016 list still does not include Yellowhammer.  Many of the hedges across the open fields at Holywell have recently been cut (or better to say chopped) and this has left them very open, so this very likely accounts for few birds to be found there.  Last year I didn’t hear or see Song Thrush until 1st February and it appears that Yellowhammer is this year’s bogey.  Incidentally a Song Thrush has been feeding in and singing close by my garden almost each day this month.  We did come across the small flock of Skylarks again today.

On our return to the pond we had lunch prior to our planned walk to Backworth.  The walk never occurred as we received a text from CS who we had spoken to earlier, informing us of the whereabouts of a Brambling.  We decided to head for the dene area in the hope of finding it.  We got muddy boots again, but no Brambling, although our change of plan did bring us some nice sightings of woodland birds including Nuthatches, Treecreepers and parties of tit including Long-tailed Tits in some number.  Two Stock Doves fed in the field to the north.  On leaving the dene the light through the Beech trees was wonderful, and the light remained good as we paid our final visit to the pond.  It was now that we found that the Mandarin Drake was showing well and that a Shoveler had now joined the Mallards, Gadwall, Wigeon and Goldeneye (a pair mating).  Common Snipe was seen in the distance on East Pool.  A Kestrel, probably the same one that had been seen perched on the fence earlier in the day, was flying over the hedge line.  We were also able to add Lesser Black-backed Gull to the year list.

So, a much milder day, although fairly quiet as bird sightings go, although still bring us almost fifty bird sightings during our visit.  Large flocks of Lapwing and Wood Pigeon flew overhead as we prepared to leave for home.

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