Sunday, 20 January 2019

Close to Home

I havent been out much this year yet for a variety of reasons. Busy, CBA, it's cold, it's winter etc. Today was supposed to be a full day out in the field but too much of Islay's finest and a late night playing Red Dead Redemption 2 (gaming isn't just for kids folks) mean't I started late and gave up early. With a slight hangover I opted to stay local and went out on Wansford Carrs for a couple of hours. It sounded like the Somme with Pheasant shoots all over the place but there were plenty of birds. Snakeholme Pastures is a small YWT reserve sitting on the Driffield Canal SSSI and it is being extended with works along the West Beck linking it with Skerne Wetlands. Some fabulous habitat is present and much of the adjacent areas are managed for shooting so contain some decent areas. It is the most northerly chalk stream in the UK with crystal clear water and gravel beds which attract spawning Brook and River Lamprey.

Peregrine
 A few Mute Swans fed on the carrs but nothing wilder. A mixed flock of thrushes contained all five species that you would expect in winter including my first Mistle Thrushes of 2019. They were all digging for worms in the plethora of mole hills. Further south a couple of Buzzards were mewing away whilst sat on small pylons and the reason for their annoyance soon became obvious as a Peregrine was bombing them with some persistance. There were stacks of brand new owl boxes up so I am hopeful that there will be an upturn in the local populus soon. Plenty of otter sign failed to turn any up. Some of the best habitat was some hawthorn scrub that was birdless but I have high hopes for the coming year.

Little Egret

Returning to the car after a decent ramble along the river featuring a smart male Kestrel and a loafing Grey Heron a cracking Little Egret floated along infront of me. Now a regular wintering species it was much appreciated on an overcast day. All this may not add up to much but its literally five minutes from front door and was awesome to be outside.

How brains and birds become mutually exclusive