Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Atlas Square Leads To 'Nearly' Bird, 23rd December 2008

I was doing my bit today and surveying a square for the bird atlas. The square I was surveying is centred around Cockerham Moss and what an avian desert it was! It did have its moments in one or two pockets, but generally it was rye grass monoculture with no features. I can't wait for my second winter visit and summer visits! Not!!

Anyway the 'nearly' bird in question was a possible/probable Water Pipit. I was walking next to some birdless maize stubble with a ditch along side it and I flushed a bird along the ditch. I didn't get anything on it and all I could say was that it was a passerine. It was very flighty and I couldn't get any closer than about 50 yards. Eventually I could see that it was a Pipit with white outer tail feathers, pale supercil and plain greyish upperparts. It continued to stick to the ditch and flying everytime I got within 50 yards. It didn't call either, which made it even more frustrating. When the ditch ran out at a gateway, it flew out across the field, silhouetted against the sky, didn't call and dropped back in the ditch behind me. And from there I lost it. Oh well, at least it brightened up a fairly uneventful survey.

I did have a few highlights during my two hour walk round that included 46 Teal, 16 Mute Swans, 23 Tree Sparrows, 2 Grey Wagtails and Little Egret.

As Christmas is nearly upon us I thought I would include some pictures that are vaguely Christmasy, well they have snow on them, and they are some cracking pictures sent to me by (you guessed it) my mate in Canada, Nigel. They are some cracking shots of Northern Hawk Owl in the hand taken by a mate of Nigel's, Mike Blom. Thanks Mike! Just look at the frost on the eyelashes!

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