Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Golden Chips

Yellowhammer (c) 2010 Maurice Gordon
Yellowhammer - Lichen almost same colour as the bird!
Goldcrest (c) 2010 Maurice Gordon
Record shot of Red Kite
Record shot of Red Kite
Winter Aconites (c) 2010 Aileen Urquhart

The final Wednesday class of the winter term visited the site of the oldest horse race in the world. The morning session was punctuated with chips - the contact note/alarm call of the Yellowhammer. We probably saw at least 5 males, and eventually one female. When the sun broke through in the afternoon a few erupted into full song - even including the "no cheese." They were certainly the most obvious bird in the morning, but were absent during most of the afternoon until the sun eventually came out. The Bullfinches were still around, but were harder to see, and the flock of 9 seem to have split up. A surprise in the afternoon was the Marsh Tit in the area of the disused station. A Mistle Thrush serenaded both sessions, but sung for longer during the morning. We also saw Long-tailed Tits, Song Thrushes, Lapwings, Red-legged Partridge, Black-headed & Common Gulls, but no Buzzards. We did see 2 red Kites during the morning, while someone leaving the afternoon group saw 3. The brick viaduct held a sunbathing Green Woodpecker as I left after the afternoon session. Maurice stayed behind & came across the Goldcrest near the brick viaduct. The morning group recorded 25 birds, a smaller number than most Wednesdays, but they were quality sightings. The Marsh Tit, Goldcrest & Green Woodpecker took the tally up to 28. That was the last Wednesday session until after Easter, when 99.9% of those who've attended the winter course have already booked to return - almost a record!

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