It's been a long time since a blogpost, but I've been busy trying to contract diabetes over the past 6 weeks, so had nothing to post about.
Today was the first class of 2013. We started at a large local park. The first surprise arrived in the initial 5 minutes when I heard a Jay. On investigation it appeared that a pair had been present since November, and had even been since recently nest-building, but we don't see to for ourselves. One class member was quick enough to spot a scruffy urban fox, but the rest of us weren't so lucky. There were Long-tailed & Blue Tits near the car park. We then had a long walk punctuated only by Starlings & House Sparrows. For beginners the differences between Common & Black-headed were pointed, and later juvenile and adult Herring Gulls were added to the mix.
All pics (c) 2013 Chris Cox
Tufted Duck (female)
On the water Mallard including many 'mongrels' were differentiated, and in the afternoon we discovered 2 apparent Pintail hybrids. More straightforwardly the lake had Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Greylag & Canada Geese, an immature Cormorant and in the afternoon a very brief glimpse was obtained of a Great Crested Grebe. However, the true stars of the water were approximately 30 Goosanders spread throughout the park. Occasionally, these gave very good views, but the light wasn't brilliant for taking photographs.The Kingfisher, Heron and Little Grebe didn't survive the previous 3 winters, and don't appear to have returned, and there wasn't even any sign of last years parakeets.On the return journey the morning highlight was provided by a pair of Goldcrests, whilst in the afternoon we couldn't relocate them, but we did find a pair of Siskins instead. Here's hoping for better light next time.In the morning every participant wished everyone else a Happy New Year, but in the afternoon as far as I could tell no one bothered. Is that another difference between mornings and afternoons?