Sunday, 22 January 2017

Geese again

Today Dawn (above) to dusk all over with Hazel. A bitter frost overnight had left the still water frozen but there was plenty of bird activity with 13 White-front including at least 6cy birds on Mappins fields between dawn and about 10.00 when I met up with Geoff to look around Horse-eye Green where there was a Bittern yesterday, alas no joy but 2 Jack Snipe and a squealing Water Rail were some compensation. Another Jack Snipe was seen on Down Level with Henry. Also 23 Snipe, a ringtail Harrier, 4 Marsh Harrier including a male on Down, Sparrowhawk, 80 Wigeon, 60 Teal, a Water Rail seen on Down, and winter thrushes a plenty.
On Friday (20th) a couple of Marsh Harrier on Horse-eye and I took some time to count some thrushes with some interesting results. I have had a feeling that there are a lot of Song Thrushes around and my count seems to back this up with 55% of the two feeding flocks I counted being Song Thrushes - they just seem to be in every field, hedgerow, and reed bed at the moment! Unlike SEO of which I have seen none this week... On the raptor front there is an absolutely stunning chocolate brown Buzzard around Lookers at the moment, well worth scoping.
No mothing yet this year - too cold, however on the mammal front 8 Fallow Deer (all does) near the observatory yesterday (21st), Red Fox on Horse-eye this morning, and Brown Hare on the WEBS last weekend.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Brightening up a dull day

First WEBS of the year and its pouring with rain so hauling my sorry self around the levels with Hazel proved somewhat sticky. Still these are the days that sort the men from the boys so we stick it out for the usual suspects including a very soggy female Marsh Harrier at Mappins, a couple of Water Rail, and when scanning the geese... a family group of 3 White-fronts', or should I be calling them Russian White-fronts' these days?
Anyway, since it was miserable and wet after covering the whole patch area and having a late breakfast, I headed up to East Grinstead with Sharon to see the Waxwings that have been on the Birches Industrial Estate. As always charming birds with their high pitched bell like trilling very evocative, I counted 29 but the flock is 30+, not quite the 300+ that I saw here in one of the invasions in the late 90s' but enough to keep me happy in the ongoing precipitation.
Finally back to the levels and Lookers cottage in continuing rain for the Hen Harrier survey. Nothing doing, in fact no SEO either, not unsurprisingly given the conditions but I did however connect with a couple of Marsh Harriers including a close flyby of one of the adult females which sort of made another soaking worthwhile!
Other visits since Christmas included a very enjoyable day spent with old friend Nigel Driver on the 27th December, the highlight of which was a Pink-footed Goose on Horse-eye along with 7 White-fronts (2ad with 2cy and 2ad with 1cy), and a couple of SEO at the ever busy Lookers'. On the 1st of January, again in pouring rain, Peregrine and Marsh Harrier, and on the 2nd Jan 2 SEO amongst the chaos at Lookers.