It's always very difficult to bird properly when 'her indoors' comes with you and this morning was a classic example. I went to Rawcliffe Moss to feed and Gail (see, she does have a name!) decided to come with me for "the walk". Now, immediately you can see how it is all going to go wrong. Instead of birding it has become a 'walk' which means that a constant steady pace will be undertaken on a route around the moss. No pishing along a hedge; no stopping every 10 yards and straining your ears to see if you can catch the call of that over-flying passerine; no stopping to count every bird in that flock of 'Pink-feet'. I could go on, but I think that you have got the message. So below are some of the brief highlights from our walk.
A few Pink-feet were moving around this morning but not as many as in recent weeks, but I still had 1,225. I don't think there is anything better than the call of Pink-feet to evoke the feeling of wildness other than the call of Whooper Swans and we had both this morning as 15 Whooper Swans went over.
In the 'big field' we put a few Snipe up from a wet 'hole', 13 in total, and put another 5 up from another wet field. I made a mental note of where the Snipe were and I will check to see if they build up or not. There could be a ringing opportunity possibly.
Three Buzzards were around this morning as was a single Kestrel, but that was it on the raptor front. Now the point I was trying to make with regard to being distracted by 'her indoors' concerned my counting of the Tree Sparrows. Instead of stealthily working my way along the hedge and stopping every few yards to count departing birds we were down the track like an express train because she was cold and needed to warm up! So I had to try and count them as they exited the hedge enmasse! Therefore the figure of 130 in my notebook is definitely an under estimate.
Corn Buntings haven't built up as yet and today we only had 5. Forty Linnets were still feeding in the field to the north of Curlew Wood but the Goldfinch seem to have left them and all I had was two groups of 8 and 3 feeding elsewhere. The male and female Stonechats were still remaining faithful to the margins of the track and ditch and could be seen perched up on posts before forays to the ground to look for invertebrates.
The Woodpigeons are still around and today's count of 1,160 is more a reflection of birds feeding and not being countable rather than any reduction in numbers. It was pleasing to see covey's of 10 and 2 Grey Partridge as they have been rather scarce this autumn and winter.
Today's seasonal picture is of a Great Horned Owl in the hand in Canada of course!
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