Thursday, 27 February 2014

Patch list week 8

19th Feb  A pre breakfast trip to the Blue lagoon had me wondering if it had been restocked by the new fishing syndicate as there were eight great crested grebes and eight cormorants. Lots of species were singing and made a pleasant start to the day.

GREEN SANDPIPERS were new to the patch for me, they were present only because the water had subsided enough for them to wade.

After lunch Les and I walked the Greenway, a large charm of goldfinches were on the field by the two chimneys PH among a number of fieldfares, further along we were passed by a true exaltation of about 50 skylarks flying overhead. The ‘parliament’ of rooks were also in evidence.

Along the Pix brook a chiffchaff was in full song, a jay flew overhead and we spent ten minutes watching a goldcrest gleaning a nearby bramble.

We also saw a field vole.                                                                            Year patch list 66

20th Feb no trip

21st Feb Les and I had an afternoon walk around Nortonbury and Radwell on a cool but sunny day, a pair of buzzards were seen a few times as they cruised the area and a red kite was high over Radwell, there were eight little egrets on the lake and two grey herons, we also saw five grey partridges and the meadow pipit flock was still faithful to the same field at Nortonbury.

22nd Feb No visit as we were house hunting in Norfolk but we had a hen harrier fly in front of the car near Oxborough.

23rd Feb  Returning from our house hunt  we noted a corn bunting on the telephone wires between Duxford and Royston, there was a time you could have seen scores of them on the wires.....

24th Feb  A glorious walk in sunshine along the Greenway,  a pair of buzzards were thermalling, a kestrel wafted past to perch on the wires and hunt, skylarks were singing everywhere and a pair of LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS flew overhead                                        year patch list 67

25th  no trip

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Patch week 7

12th Feb  no trip

13th Feb Early trip to the Blue lagoon, 17 tufted ducks and 4 GC grebes. P.M. Les and I walked the Greenway, there was a murmuration of about 150 starlings mixed with fieldfares, redwings and some goldfinches. 40 teal were seen from the hide and two grey herons and 3 little egrets. The ‘building’ of rooks was on the fields on a sunny but cold day.

14th Feb  Once again I walked around the common on a woodcock hunt to no avail, two yaffles heard and a GS woodpecker drummed nearby and I had a close brush with a muntjac but they were the highlights, off then to entertain dad on his 85th birthday.

15th Feb A howling gale blew as I went off to Radwell to check out the lake, on the approach there was a huge trampoline halfway across the road and in a ladys gateway, it took five of us to pick it up and put it back where it came from over the brick wall in the farm garden. All there was to show were 2 little egrets and 2 grey herons getting buffeted. On my way home I noted a buzzard struggling against the wind over Stotfold.

16th Feb RSPB trip to Old moor Barnsley. Three birds were added to the year list including the first willow tit i had seen in years.

17th Feb no trip

18th Feb no trip

Monday, 17 February 2014

RSPB trip to Old Moor

This was a good trip, the weather for a change this year started out cold but very bright until we reached Old Moor when it became a bit cloudy but we still had plenty of sunshine.

First stop was the garden hide as a regular willow tit had been mentioned but it failed to show whilst we waited but  bullfinch were regular visitors. There was a lot of activity around the feeders, a wren gave us close upviews, someone saw a weasel. It started to get a bit congested in the hide so we went for a walk around the reserve

Old moor is not a large reserve and it did not take us long to do the circuit, we watched a female marsh harrier patrolling the reeds, the peregrine managed to evade us, it was seen to take a coot and procede to much it in view of a hide.

There were seventeen goosanders that Les and I could see, we then headed back for a coffee and after that  back to the garden hide. We were lucky enough to get a look at the willow tit, the first one we had seen for years,Gary a fellow group member spotted the regular sparrowhawk watching the feeders from a tree about 150 yards away which kept the birds away for a while but in the end their stomachs ruled they should return and the sparrowhawk quickly made an appearance missed it’s lunch and  then proceeded to sit quite close to the hide and preen which soon flooded the hide with photographers.

We next went to the ‘Tree sparrow farm’ a nearby feeding area where we saw tree sparrows, yellowhammers, numerous bullfinches, a redwing, lots of reed buntings and a magpie that sat next to the ‘blind’ we were using and ignored all the camera clicks.

Next stop the bittern hide which was notable for a lack of bitterns, no surprise there but we did see the ‘rare for the area’ great crested grebe which brought a few wry smiles
Last stop was the garden hide again but the sparrowhawk was still posing so we wandered back to the coach for the journey back


                                                                Sparrowhawk male

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Patch week 6

5th Feb.   No visit

6th Feb.   Just a quick visit before breakfast on a busy day, just a chiffchaff and a sparrowhawk were worth a mention

7th Feb.  After a wet morning, Les and I went for a walk around the greenway, a flock of 12 stock doves were flushed, a large flock of rooks kept their distance, numerous skylarks were seen and a distant finch flock on a lovely sunny afternoon

8th Feb.  Two hours on the common which was more like a peat bog looking for woodcock turns up nothing except soggy boots and after that the day turned into one long bout of rain

9th Feb.  This latest trip to the blue lagoon turned out to be one of my poorer moves as it was blowing a hooley and my eyes were constantly streaming, in between blinks and trying to hold up the scope I detected only three Great crested grebes of interest.

10th Feb.  A pleasure today to go out when the wind was a mere Zephyr, Les and I walked the greenway, seeing 47 Canada geese on a new ‘lake’, a Jay flew over us, we bumped into Ken and talked about his visits to the patch, we then saw 25 redwings and a pair of fieldfares before the rain drove us home

11th Feb.  Another foul morning gave way to a sunny afternoon and I headed off to the fields adjacent to the Flint lane allotments, from here I saw a pair of distant buzzards and a further search of the distant hills and there was a tiny moving speck that turned into a RED KITE when it came closer. There was  also a pot pourri of lots of different birds that held my interest for the next half hour. I walked on to Radwell and saw four grey herons and a pair of little egrets there and found that the meadow pipit flock at Nortonbury had grown to about 35                               Patch list 65

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Patch week 5

The 29th and 30th of Jan were wiped out by continual rain – no visit

31st Jan  A cold raw morning, nothing of note at Standalone hide so I continued on down the Pix brook which provided brief views of the overwintering chiffchaffs gleaning the occasional fly and midge along the brook foliage. The rest of my two hour walk was uneventful and then back came the rain.

1st Feb A cold bright day, first stop the Standalone hide where I found 44 Canada geese, the most I have seen there, on my way around the Greenway I again saw the lark finch and rook flocks on the fields.

After lunch Les and I went to Broom lakes and then tothe lodge at Sandy where the highlight was a raven tumbling and kronking near the hillfort

2nd Feb Les and I visited in the afternoon after a morning birding around other parts of Herts, we were walking the Greenway and were pleasantly surprised to see a flock of between 80 and 120 LAPWINGS  a pair of GREY PARTRIDGES flew onto a field in front of us and posed for long views in the scope, we also counted a healthy flock of 76 rooks on the fields and saw a number of distant finches too.                                                                                                                               Patch list 63

3rd Feb I started at the Blue lagoon, once more very quiet but a pair of HERRING GULLS flew over. Next stop Standalone hide, lots of B H gulls one of which already had an almost black head,  two bullfinches were feeding on the young buds very close to the hide and made great viewing, there was a male shoveller present and a fox wandered across the back of the lake           Patch list 64

4th Feb An early start to try and see some local tawny owls ended in their failure to turn up for me, never mind, another day will find them.

After lunch Les and I walked via the footpath at the top of Green lane down past the allotments and there on the untilled field were 11 yellowhammers, a good number for the patch, a long walk via Radwell brought us back via the hosre meadow adjacent to the disused mill at Nortonbury and we found a flock of about 20  MEADOW PIPITS to round off the week nicely.                    Patch list 65