Saturday 5 January 2013

Flying with Foot It

 I got out properly this morning for Foot It and fared pretty well. 21 species added to my total taking me to 58 species or 74% of my target of 78 species. I got cracking early(ish) and quickly added Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and a bonus Lesser Black-backed Gull which are pretty scarce round here in the winter. A detour via the sewage works failed to add much and I hoofed it to halfway to Wansford. 3 bumps in a field were not the expected partridges but 3 Golden Plover. On my hitlist but not a guarentee so I was chuffed with them. I righted the Grey Partridge situation immediately as 5 birds sat in the field opposite. I watched these and noticed the first Cormorants of the year circling over the fish farm in the distance.

The Carrs flooded
Belatedly both Rook and Common Gull were added as I arrived in Wansford. The undoubted highlight came just as I was arriving getting into the village as a brown finch lifted out of the stubbles, a Twite! As I tweeted at the time wtf was that doing there? After this excitement I decided to have a coffee break and this gave me my only raptors of the piece, single male Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Quickly on the move again and a tit flock contained 1, maybe 2 Treecreepers. I could see that the carrs were flooded across the river and I heard the winter whistles of Wigeon as a distant flock of duck hightailed to the horizon.

I headed over to the floods where a flock of 62 Greylags sat containing no Pinks et al. There were also no interesting waders amongst the c150 Lapwing that were also about nor a med amongst the plethora of Blach-headed and Common Gulls. A small flock of Linnet worked the flood edges, this time there were no horn coloured bills.

I wandered up to the much heralded mill pond where there was...a single Tufted Duck. Rubbish. Not rubbish were the 2 Jays that flushed from the shooting crop to the north. This increases my total number of Jays seen on patch by 100% in 5 years but sadly they legged it before digital rendering. A big flock of Redwing were joined by a dozen Fieldfares. As I followed the beck back north a Kingfisher flew past and a small mixed flock of Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer emerged from one of the few unflailed hedges. A very attractive young lady wandered past at this juncture and looked at me with disdain. I smiled back safe in the knowledge that her nubile 23(ish) year old frame was no match for the noble endeavours of foot it. Ha who am I kidding - I looked like a mud encrusted loser clad in geekiness.

Putting my dignity behind me I continued towards home, finding another Kingfisher (pictured above) and finally a flock of about 30 Siskin flew in tight formation past my nose. Very odd sighting but welcome nonetheless as the garden birds tend to be in February (if at all). And then I was home after 8km, 900 calories and a cracking start despite some obvious misses (Great Spot, RL Partridge, Snipe, Buzzard, Barn Owl, Goldcrest etc.).

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