Thursday, 5 December 2013

From Moss to Marsh to Moss

On Tuesday I called at my feeding station on the Moss, on my way to measure some hedges to be restored in the Wenning Valley. It would have been a good morning for a good mooch round but I only had half an hour to spare, so I fed the Tree Sparrows and then had a quick walk round a section of the farm I don't normally cover.

At the feeding station were 28 Chaffinches and 164 Tree Sparrows. There has been a number of Thrushes feeding on Hawthorn berries around the feeding station but this morning I only had twelve Redwings, eleven Blackbirds and six Fieldfares. Walking back along the track I had my highest count of Yellowhammers so far for the winter with a total of 15.

Buzzards were fairly numerous this morning as I had four, but I didn't record any other raptors. I headed across the field to a patch of maize sown as game cover and pushed four Song Thrushes and five Grey Partridges out of it. These Grey Partridge seemed very wary (as they should be!) and I don't think they were some of the tame 'released' birds I have been seeing recently.

Driving off the Moss I noted that the Green Sandpiper was back on the flood and two Corn Buntings flew over head.

 Green Sandpiper

Yesterday I spent the morning birding with my good friend George from Northumberland. George had stayed the night with us as he had a meeting over in this part of the world and we sank a few pints of real ale,leading to a later start birding than planned!

We headed Over Wyre to watch the tide come in on the saltmarsh and as it was 9.7 m I knew that it would cover most of the marsh. There were huge numbers of Teal with lesser numbers of Wigeon and Pintail, but we didn't attempt a count at all, instead we just soaked it all in. The only wildfowl we did count were the 400 Shelducks and a party of seven Whooper Swans.

As the tide ran it lifted a number of Meadow Pipits, but at least five Rock Pipits were present as well. Snipe were being pushed out of the creeks and then George spotted a Jack Snipe crouched on the green saltmarsh carpet. The tide came in and flooded underneath it and it still sat tight pushing itself down to try and conceal itself, when in reality is stood out like a sore thumb. The tide eventually lifted it and it flew off giving cracking flight views in the crisp, bright light.

I was back at my mossland feeding station this morning but it was blowing a gale literally and I just 'legged' it down the track and back. All the birds were sitting tight in the hedge because of the strong winds and all I had were 100 Fieldfares, 90 Tree Sparrows, ten Chaffinches, ten Blackbirds and ten Redwings. New in were 2,500 Pink-footed Geese feeding on stubble in the 'big field'.

On my way off site the Green Sandpiper was on the flood again.

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