I finished work early this afternoon and called at my feeding station on Rawcliffe Moss to have an afternoon walk and to put some food down. As I walked down the hedge and track towards where I put the seed down I could see a flock of 70-80 Tree Sparrows flying from the hedge down to the track, and back when they were disturbed. However, long before I reached them I could hear a number of Tree Sparrows calling from within the hedge and I thought "there's a lot of Tree Sparrows here this afternoon". These birds then flew out of the hedge and as I approached the feeding station Tree Sparrows exploded out of the hedge in all directions. My conservative estimate was of 250 birds but I think there could possibly have been 50-100 more than this. It was certainly the peak count of the winter so far.
With the Tree Sparrows were 17 Chaffinch's and 6 Corn Buntings that split of from the Tree Sparrows and flew off northwest. There were a number of Blackbirds in the 'feeding station' hedge and on my complete walk round I had a total of 12.
As I started to walk up the '97' hedge I flushed a Buzzard that flew a short distance and perched in some willows giving me stonking views as we both remained still and watched each other! It then took off and I started to call to it and immediately it started circling round over me and coming lower and lower. It was then joined by a second bird and both of them circled round as I called to them before they realised I wasn't another Buzzard and started to move off. The original bird was still curious and moved only a short way and dropped into the stubble. I don't think it was convinced that there wasn't another Buzzard around! Further up the 'big field' I could see a different bird hanging in the wind in the distance.
Other than the Blackbirds I had no Thrushes other than 4 Song Thrush's in the hedge near Curlew Wood. Back at the car I saw a huge flock of birds get up way to the west and when I looked I could see that it was a huge flock of about 10,000 Starlings. I say about, because how can you accurately count birds in these sort of numbers. There must have been a raptor about because then a flock of around 300 lapwings got up as well. Birds conspicuous by their absence were 'Pink-feet' and Redwings and Fieldfares.
Ogden on ice. - Male Goosander taking off from the water. Away >NE for the Oxenhope roost ...
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