Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Once Bitten

On Tuesday we stayed at a location near main roads, to try and prevent any accidents to my attendees. It's therefore rather ironic that the main danger lay not to most of the students but to their tutor... 
Bullfinch [male]

When we came down the steps there were plenty of Thrushes present, looking for food under the leaf litter, which was completely covered in snow. Most of these were Redwings with a few Song Thrushes, and a single Mistle Thrush. Of course there were Blackbirds about too. These were the best views of Redwings the Tues am group had seen for quite some time.   
Bullfinch [female]

The bird table area was covered in the usual suspects: Great Tits, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, Coal Tits, Chaffinches, but there's no doubt that the star performers were the Bullfinches. At any one time we saw 4 stonking males, and 3 rather more drab females.
We managed to avoid the floodwater, which had actually receded noticeably since yesterday afternoon, and beyond here we saw Treecreepers and a couple of constantly flitting Goldcrests. We didn't see an awful lot after the incident with the dog in the Day-time, but a small flock of Long-tailed Tits were spotted leaving the security of the trees as they flew over the austere, brutal-looking toilet block.
Treecreeper [silhouette]

A Terrier came from behind, clamped itself on my right leg and sunk its teeth into my calf. "That's unusual behaviour" said the male owner, who had just been working the beast up by running like a maniac along with it, as we came towards them. They had passed us when suddenly the drama unfolded.  At no time did the bloke apologise or punish the mutt. The female was more apologetic, but I didn't accede to her request to roll up my waterproof trousers, my fleece-lined trousers, and my thermals. The pain was excrutiating, so the morning session was cut a little short, so I could check on the damage.  The skin was broken in 3 places despite the 3 layers of trousers appearing unharmed. 

In the afternoon we went round the reserve in the opposite direction. An early highlight were 3 very confiding Goldcrests. A group of Long-tailed Tits made an alarm call and one of the Goldcrests froze, and a Sparrowhawk glided overhead. The Bullfinches were harder to see, but we did eventually see 2 males and a female. In bushes nearby we saw several Fieldfare, and some Redwings, but the light was going at this point.

 The offending mutt being cradled by the irresponsible owner
My tetanus jabs aren't upto-date, so if I should disappear off the scene in the next month, please track these lowlifes down & get that cradled cur destroyed

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