Earlier this week Craig and I took my good mate from Canada, Nigel, out birding for the day. Nigel's a ringer, warden of Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station and one of the best bird artists around (in my opinion anyway). It was too windy to do any ringing so we went birding instead and the only species Nigel really wanted to see was a Little Owl. Sure I said, I've got three guaranteed sites where we're bound to get one at one of them. From the title you will have guessed that it wasn't to be, not a Little Owl in sight. We even checked a couple of the sites twice!
We headed off Over Wyre starting at my feeding station where we we had 150 Tree Sparrows and then at various spots on our travels we had 325 Whooper Swans, three Little Egrets, two Rock Pipits, 1,500 Lapwings, four Goosanders, three Little Grebes and a hundred Teal. We told a few tall tales about birding and ringing, and generally had a good day.
This morning I went to my feeding station to feed and I am now into the routine of feeding every other day. Just as I had got out of my car eight Fieldfares flew over and then I got some of the best, if not the best, views of a male Hen Harrier I've ever had. Just 15 metres from me a 3CY male 'whipped' over the hedge and floated north towards the wood and then west across the moss. Awesome!
There seemed to be a few Blackbirds around and I had 11 walking down to the feeding area. At the feeding station were 106 Tree Sparrows along with 11 Chaffinch. I then had a walk along the '97 hedge' and had 11 Yellowhammers and ten Reed Buntings.
Over on the eastern corner of the top fields I had an impressive flock of 380 Chaffinch. I couldn't see any Bramblings amongst them but I didn't want to disturb them to try and spot any white rumps and left them alone. As I headed back along the lane I had 600 Woodpigeons feeding in one of the fields and a flock of 11 Corn Buntings flew from the hedge.
No photographs I'm afraid as when I switched my camera on, just before the Harrier appeared, the battery was dead. I think you could call that a school boy error! It is looking cold for weekend with the chance of getting some ringing done on Sunday.
Sunday last day of May... - That's spring done, or almost if you are a birder in the North. Some of Northumberland's best birds arrive in the first 10 days of June, so I am keeping fi...
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