Wednesday 27 January 2010

Essex – Harlow Park – 26th January 2010

Throughout the year I generally take the opportunity to keep an eye on what is to be seen in the Public Park close to where I work, generally this tally’s by year end to about thirty odd species. So far this year I am at nineteen species including Siskin, Redwing, Fieldfare, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush and Heron. Plus Grey Squirrel and Red Fox. I’ll keep you posted how things go during the following months.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 99 Month bird count: 99
Photo: Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Thursday 21 January 2010

Suffolk – Levington – 17th January 2010

It was a very good start to the day as we caught sight of a Peregrine weaving around the dockside building in Ipswich. Then on the track down to the Marina some one had caught sight of Corn Bunting and Brambling feeding on a distant discarded small field of maize. We strolled around the Marina and picked up the Black-necked Grebe very quickly as it dived for food amongst the moored boats. Birders were gathering into quite a group so we made an exit and headed to the Loompit Trout Lake where all the regular were; Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Redshank, Pochard, Wigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Meadow Pipit, Common Gull and Cormorant all making for a great stroll round.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 99 Month bird count: 99.
Photo: Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Lancashire – Manchester Quays – 16th January 2010

I was mixing it a bit this weekend with a trip to the footy at Old Trafford and a spot of opportunity birding on the way there and in the immediate surrounds. On the drive up as the snow had completely vanished the birds now had to combat the flooded fields. It was evident that Pheasants, for example, were feeding very close to the road sides. Overhead there were Common Buzzards over the M6 north of Stoke and a notable pair of Sparrowhawks (male and female birds) together over the A50 in Derbyshire. At the Quays in Manchester the water provides sheltered area for quite a few species and good views are easy. Today there was Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Great-crested Grebe, Coot, Cormorant and Shag.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 97 Month bird count: 97
Photo: Coot (Fulica atra)
and the Ground

Friday 15 January 2010

Suffolk – The Strand – 10th January 2010

The river Orwell was still and grey, sleet was sweeping in from its estuary so the birds were being pushed up stream and taking to as much shelter as they could find. Mallard and Wigeon hugged the bank. Curlews, Lapwings, Dunlins and single Grey Plover and Ringed Plover feed on the exposed mud. The only birds in the water were Great-crested Grebes (30+), Mergansers (20+) and Cormorants. Finally a flock of Greylag Geese flew in to the field on the other side of the road disturbing foraging Rooks.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 96 Month bird count: 96
Photo: Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Suffolk – Combs Wood – 9th January 2010

There was too much snow for the car today. So we took a two mile round trip walk to our local wood. First point of note was the large influx of Redwings and Fieldfares this winter, many easily seen in the garden on small housing estates. As we rose out of the urban area in the hedge rows we saw Bullfinch, House Sparrow and Chaffinch all trying to get anything going to feed off in the greenery that had not succumbed to the snow coverage. Within the wood itself Tits were quite abundant and the Crows still took there position on top on the tallest trees but otherwise everything was very quiet. I guess the lack of easy food had driven most birds out in people's gardens.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 94 Month bird count: 94
Photo: Fieldfare (turdus pilaris)

Monday 11 January 2010

Essex – Abberton – 2nd January 2010

Always worth a visit, this site can produce some great birding. On this day the large scale freeze over had started to thaw, resulting in the birds being closer to the causeways. From the Layer crossing there were Pintail, Lapwing, Goldeneye, Pochard and Tufted Duck. Then from the Breton side, Smew, Goosander, Heron, Egyptian Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Common Gull, Mute Swan and Mallard all present, some in large numbers. Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 93 Month bird count: 93

Photo: Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Friday 8 January 2010

Essex - Mistley Walls - 2nd January 2010

For the second day in the year we headed into Essex and the wildfowl and waders on the river Stour.

There were the usual high numbers of Knot feeding in the mud, plus Avocet and Curlew. Duck wise there were Pintails, Shelduck, Goldeneye and Scaup. Plus over a hundred Mute Swans which had been infiltrated by the usual escaped Black Swans and two Chinese Geese (a domestically bred goose).

Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 89 Month bird count: 89

Photo: Chinese Goose [domestic & escaped]

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Norfolk – Salthouse – 1st January 2010

One final stop before heading back home and we try to beat the light and get to the small coastal gap at Salthouse.

On the pools there were Teal and Turnstone, plus a largish flock of Snow Buntings (20 to 30 birds) feeding on the shingle. Great end to a great day!

Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 81 Month bird count: 81

Photo: Ruddy Turnstone (arenaria interpres)

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Norfolk – Titchwell – 1st January 2010

We progressed further into New Year ’s Day and right up on the north Norfolk coast at RSPB Titchwell. A great deal to be seen here, amongst them, on the marshes and freshwater; Bearded Tit, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Stonechat, Little Egret, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Common Gull, Brent Goose, Coot and Lapwing. Then on the coast; Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin. Plus a Red Kite commuting along the boundary with Thonham.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 77 Month bird count: 77
Photo: Eurasian Teal (anas crecca)

Monday 4 January 2010

Norfolk – Lynford Arboretum – 1st January 2010

“Get stuck in and out there” is my motto when doing yearly bird counts! So without further ado and at the risk of sliding off some East Anglian roads our first stop of the year, as the sun rose, was Lynford.
We were not disappointed; on the water there were five or six Mergansers plus Graylag and Canada Geese. In the trees leading down to the water, we saw a flock of twenty plus Crossbill, five plus Siskin, Treecreeper, Willow Tit, Coal Tit and Firecrest. Then in the lower bushes in the arboretum plenty of Redwings.
Life bird count: 389 Year bird count: 35 Month bird count: 35
Photo: Redwing (turdus iliacus)