Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Winter Term - Wednesday 1 - Millington Pastures

Record shot of the more colourful Hawfinch (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Robin on Burdock (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
There's the two Water Rails! (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
One taken earlier at Spurn (c) 2009 Michael Flowers
If you are from this morning’s group, you’d probably better not read any further... What a start to the birding year for today’s afternoon class! In 5 years of classes at last we had excellent views of a Hawfinch (female). There had been no sign in the morning, but this afternoon she seemed to be making the most of the sunshine which at that time of day was lighting up the tops of the hawthorn bushes from which she was feeding. Some friendly birders had their scopes trained on the bird which stayed in full view in one particular bush for at least 10 minutes & continued to be observed as it moved to other bushes. 3 of the morning group had stayed behind & had already had closer views in the same area of the pool of what they are sure was a brighter bird. The pool was a rich area as a Water Rail gave excellent prolonged views in the morning, and then another came on the scene. There was a brief skirmish before they both fled into cover, but they each made a separate squealing sound from their respective hiding places. Sightings of good numbers of birds of prey were hampered by the weather. The morning was fairly misty & there was virtually no wind. In the afternoon the sun started to break through, but it remained very calm. However, we did ID a Buzzard (dark), a Red Kite, a Peregrine, a large Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, & had good views of Bullfinches and more distant sightings of a Yellowhammer and a Stonechat. On the bird feeders in the woodland there were Marsh & Coal Tits & further in the woodland once the sun began to break through Redwings & Fieldfare were seen. Although the day began very slowly, the Hawfinches were an excellent finale. If you intend to visit Millington for the large birds of prey, it would seem likely to be most successful if it’s windy &/or sunny!

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Yorkie said...
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