Thursday, 28 March 2013

Dropped in to Furnace Pond on the way home from work and at last had a Chiffchaff(82) which was making it's way through the reeds at the dam end as this was out of the breeze and in the sunshine.
This is easily the latest date for Chiffchaff on my patch as the usual date is around the 17th March.
I had a quick walk adding Fieldfare, Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail which came off the little stream opposite the pumping station.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Sunday 24th March

I left the house with snow falling.
The field in Kirkins held Fieldfare, Redwing, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Yellowhammer and on the little spring at the bottom of the field there was a pair of Grey Wagtails.
On Furnace pond there were the usual Great-crested Grebes, lone Coot and Moorhens.
These were joined by a Tufted drake a Kingfisher and a Mandarin drake.
There were a few gulls moving and I soon added Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed,Herring and best of all two Med Gulls, all going N/East.
In the alder wood I found Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker as well as Siskin and Goldfinch. There was a loose mixed flock which contained Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Coal tit and Treecreeper.
Back out on the Shirrenden side I found Stock Dove and Pheasant. A look across the lake produced a pair of Buzzards circling over the wood. As I was leaving a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called from behind the boathouse.
In total 38 species were seen, not a bad total and one which still didn't contain any spring migrants.
When will this horrible cold weather end?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Last couple of weeks (Best Bits)

In the last couple of weeks haven't had much chance to do the patch justice but on Saturday 9th I added Gadwall(78) to the year list when two drakes were seen from the dam end on my way to work.
On the Sunday I did manage a walk in the morning and found 5 Tufted Ducks on the lake as well as 2 Coots, 5 Great-crested Grebes and a kingfisher. A total of 12 Canada Geese went over followed closely by a pair of Greylag Geese(79).
Monday 11th produced 3 Goosander on my way home from work which included 2 drakes.
On Wednesday 13th there were 3 Teal and 2 drake Mandarins when I looked in on my way home from work.
Despite the appalling weather yesterday, I left the house at 06.45 determined to get a decent walk in. As I entered the bean stubble field on Kirkins Farm it was evident that a lot of Fieldfare were on the ground. So not wishing to disturbed them I skirted around the edge of the field  and out into Furnace Lane then re-entered the field at the bottom.
As I did so a small flock of Meadow Pipits got up and drifted further into the field and with them I noticed a slightly larger bird which on closer inspection was a lark.I was pretty certain what I had seen was a Woodlark but wanted to make sure so tracked them into the field and eventually re-found them. They weren't easy to get nearer to, but with a little stealth I found the Woodlark(80) feeding with them. Absolutely Fantastic!!!a new species for my patch list.
This morning when I entered the field it was totally devoid of birds but at the lake I found good numbers of thrushes around the orchard. The water held the usual suspects bur a walk around the ditches to the north of the lake produced a Snipe(81).a drake Mandarin flew over and as I got to the southern end I spooked 3 Grey Wagtails from the little stream and a Water Rail squealed from the reed bed nearby.
So although my watching has been fairly limited it has been quite productive.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Dropped in to the lake on the way home to see if anything had appeared. The lake held two pairs of Great-crested Grebes and three Tufted Ducks. Not much else to be seen so departed.
In the parking area I bumped into Dick, the bailiff, who told me that two anglers had flushed a Bittern at the weekend, so I decided to go home and get my scope.
On my return I went to the southern end of the lake to scan the reed beds but was unable to find anything so thought I'd stay until it got dark. As the light began to fade two pairs of Mandarins came in to roost and just when I had given up a noise to my right had me turning round to see the Bittern(77) fly from a small patch of reeds and drop into the reeds in the south east corner.Brilliant!!!I've seen a few at Furnace in previous years but these days they don't turn up as regularly as they used to.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

This week had been a complete write-off due to the fact that I have been suffering with the flu since Monday and although I haven't been to work I hadn't really had the energy to get myself out of the house.
I've spent my time looking at the feeders in the garden and found that about ten Siskins have been coming in to fed with the many Goldfinches, up to six Greenfinches, five Chaffinches, twenty odd House Sparrows and a single Redpoll. Interestingly one of the male Siskins was carrying a pink colour ring on it's right leg(see photo)I hope to find out where this was ringed.
Today I did finally manage a walk around the patch and it started on a high note when I stepped out of the back door at 08.05 and saw five gulls coming straight over the house which comprised four black headeds and an adult Mediterranean Gull(75),a great garden tick!!the walk down Furnace Lane then produced a Peregrine going south. As I got to the lake a pair of Grey Wagtails dropped down the waterfall and a scan from the dam end found a pair of Mandarins sitting in the trees at the southern end.
The orchard produced Fieldfare, Redwing, Chaffinch and a Mistle thrush.
A walk into the Alder wood found a good flock of Siskin and singing Coal Tit and Treecreeper and a Nuthatch.Then came the call I had been hoping for, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker(76)and before long I was watching a female going about her business. As I was watching her a second bird called a bit further away but I couldn't locate it.Fantastic!! Theses are such exquisite little birds!
As I came back into the open ten Canada Geese then two more and a single flew overhead.
A last look to count the Great-crested Grebes(five) and a coot plus a Kingfisher and I decided to make my way  home. As I did a Buzzard circled low over the Alderwood.