Thursday, 17 January 2013

Snowy Bonanza

I went for a Foot It wander today to try and make the most of the cold weather. Nearly 9k in freezing in -9C. Extreme local birding. After yesterdays twitch I hit up the mere first. I thought I had struck out with just an additional pair of Gadwall before I noticed this guy huddled amongst the Mallards.

A drake Teal which is my first local bird. Dead happy! Bizarrely Tufted Duck numbers were down to 4 from 7 yesterday. I smashed on and found a freshly ploughed field which held amongst a plethora of gulls, thrushes and Rook a couple of Skylark. I couldn't believe it had taken me so long to connect with these guys but I was confident I would with the weather.

A bounding bird across the carrs from me wasn't the expected Mistle Thrush but a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, my first of the year and naturally my first for foot it. I was now up to 67 species. As I approached Wansford a vixen was hunting small mammals across the beck from me. I only got record shots which was a shame. A trilling finch in a small tree flew high but not before revealing itself as a Lesser Redpoll. I wondered whether this was a feasible species but dismissed it due to the lack of habitat. A single weather driven bird soon proved me wrong.

I checked the canal and river for Little Grebe but failed miserably. Happily the carrs at Wansford helped me to fare better with some proper patch gold. There was still open water thanks to a farm drain that continued to run and because of this the cars were covered in birds. Hundreds of Black-headed and Common Gulls  were joined by 50-60 Lapwings and inobtrusively around the edges were about 35 Snipe feeding in small groups. No Jacks obvious despite searching.

Strutting amongst the Snipe were 5 Redshank. Another hoped for weather driven tick. I was delighted with my haul but was blown away by the next bird. A flock of Redwing were feeding in stubbles between a flood and the drain. A corking Green Sandpiper bobbing away amongst them. I had predicted this bird but was worrying it would elude me as I hadnt found any in my local drains and becks and as they can be quite site faithful in winter I feared that it my chance was gone.

This bird took me to 70 species seen on foot from home this year. Quite a decent milestone I think. Only 8 species to go to meet my original target. Stuff that is gettable include Barn Owl, Goldcrest, Little Egret, Pink-footed Goose, Pochard, Little Grebe, Goldeneye, Water Rail, Goosander, Waxwing, Jack Snipe & Great-crested Grebe. Hopefully the cold weather remains for the next couple of weeks and I may even beat my prediction. I have also managed to cover nearly 55 miles on foot since the turn of the year which has slimmed me down to my pre-christmas weight which was also a post diet weight so I am pretty pleased and in covering the distance have burned over 8,000 calories.

Although the sandpiper was the last avian highlight of my walk four further Foxes were on Wansford Carrs simultaneously. I don't think I have seen multiple Foxes in the day simultaneously before so for 4 to be on view at the same time is quite a site. This was the closest one.

1 comment:

northernloon said...

You'll be pleased to hear that the temperature isn't expected to rise above freezing before Saturday week.

The ducks will probably be queuing up to get on the mere

How brains and birds become mutually exclusive