It was bitterly cold this morning, mind you it is the end of November so I suppose it should be. It was one of those 'other days' again so I had to go to Rawcliffe Moss to feed the Tree Sparrows. As it was such a cracking morning I planned to have a walk round after 'feeding time' and that's exactly what I did.
Walking down the feeding station hedge a number of Fieldfares were feeding on the remaining hawthorn berries and counting up I had 42 altogether on my walk round. At the feeding station there is plenty of soft fruit that I have put out, so hopefully when the berries go the Fieldfares will take to feeding there.
There were a number of Chaffinches around this morning mainly in two areas; the feeding station and the field 'not in agricultural use' behind the badger set. The birds at the feeding station were obviously feeding on the seed that I had put down but in the field behind the badger set I am not sure what they were feeding on exactly. At the feeding station there were 25 birds and at the badger set 43, but on my walk round I had a grand total of 86.
Six Reed Buntings were present this morning but they were comprised of single birds alongside wet ditches in various places on the farm. Woodpigeons numbered 171, but this was nothing in comparison to the 3,500 that I had recently. As I was putting the seed down, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small raptor flying low rapidly towards Curlew Wood. I got my bins on it and I could see that it was a male Merlin. It pulled up and perched up in one of the trees looking at me. It stayed there for a few minutes and then headed back from where it had come.
Tree Sparrows yet again hit another peak for the winter with a total of 268 this morning. When flushed they fly across to a hedge that runs up to Curlew Wood that is opposite the feeding station. If I had brought my scope with me this morning I might have got a half decent shot of them in the field as the light was fantastic. Maybe 'half decent' was a bit optimistic. However, you will have to make do with a picture of the hedge that they fly to!
There were also good numbers of Blackbirds and Blue Tits around this morning and I had 23 and 18 respectfully. Ten of the Blackbirds were in the hedge with the Fieldfares and the rest were scattered around the farm. Talking of thrushes I also had five Redwings in the plantation and four Song Thrushes along the '97' hedge.
I then headed up towards the plantation and past the 'L' wood; so called because of its L shape! As I passed the L wood I noticed that the shooters had cut their ride in it. Last winter I walked this regularly and sometimes flushed up to three Woodcocks. I had a walk today, but unfortunately not a single Woodcock.
As I expected the plantation was very quiet with 15-20 Godlfinch being the only birds of note. I stood and watched the Goldfinch feeding for a while as they delicately picked seeds from the alder catkins.
It was then back towards the car and the rest of my walk was fairly quiet with five Skylarks, three Meadow Pipits and two Corn Buntings.
On my way home I took a slight detour to Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park. In fact I nearly gave todays blog the title of 'why they don't they take it home?' Have a look at the disgusting picture below and you will see exactly what I mean. Disgusting, dirty, lazy bar stools!
Four Reed Buntings called from various parts of the reedbeds and I had a flock of five perched in a hawthorn on the edge of Fleetwood Marsh. On the pools the widlfowl numbers were similar to a couple of days ago with 33 Coots, 16 Tufted Ducks, three male Pochards, four Shovelers and 16 Mallards. A number of Gulls bathed on the pools but I couldn't pick anything unusual out from the 34 Herring Gulls, seven Great Black-backed Gulls and 110 Black-heads.
I had a walk to Fleetwood Marsh in the hope that there might be an odd Twite knocking about, but other than three Linnets there was absolutely nothing.
Nightjar survival against the odds - with the run of days of terrible weather since this Nightjar nest started it is heartening to see that the one chick has just about fledged -- hope it now ...
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