Thursday, 24 January 2013

Splashes of Colour Among the Grey

On Wednesday we were supposed to be on the coast, but a strong easterly wind was forecast, so we abandoned the seashore for an inland location. We normally travel in a clockwise direction, but we went anti-clockwise instead to make the most of the birds in the hedgerows. We had great views of Fieldfare and Redwing, probably the best the Weds groups have seen for some time. However, the highlight was a very pink male Lesser Redpoll Brian spotted feasting on dropped seeds at the base of a small tree. In the afternoon David C spotted a very bright male Siskin, and this was surrounded by a gang of silent females with a couple of extra males. 

 Fieldfare (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart 
 Collared Dove (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart 
At lunch time some of watched a very gingery little vole dashing out from cover to take a little food and cache it in its lair.  It was much more popular than the other much larger rodent, seen by both groups.  A photo of the latter appears at the very rear of this post.
 Bank/Field Vole?
Greylags (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart 
The hedgerows had been stripped since last week, but a laughing Green Woodpecker enlivened rather a grey day. We were to glimpse it again on at least 2 more occasions through the morning, and the afternoon repeated the sightings. As we walked, I heard the distinctive mournful cry of a Golden Plover in flight. It circled several times before alighting in a field with a few scattered Lapwings, and dozens of Greylag Geese. A Grey Partridge was heard calling, but on inspection we were only able to spot their Red-legged cousins. 

 Goldeneye (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart 
One surprise was a female Goldeneye on a raft. We were able to obtain great views of the white markings on her wings. I can't remember when we last saw this species hauled out of the water. She was with Shelducks, but when they spotted us approaching the Shelducks took to the water, but this unusually bold Goldeneye stood her ground. In the afternoon the Shelduck were braver and remained on the raft with the Goldeneye.

 Green Woodpecker
 Great Black Backed Gull
Tail-less House Sparrow
 Rat (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart 

Finally, on the walk back to the cars a male Bullfinch was seen been a couple of the participants in the hedge before it flew off in a westerly direction. However, in the last 10 minutes in the afternoon the bird of the day was seen: A male Hen Harrier seen hunting over some bonfire material. The morning tally was 53 species with a couple of extra species added in the afternoon (though some species were only seen before lunch), so I must have seen at least 55 species.


East Ayton Birding said...

I'd guess bank vole Michael, but seeing the tail would help. Looks quite reddish-brown with big ears.

Michael Flowers said...

Thanks Dave, that is its tail in the 2nd pic, though I suppose it does look like another twig!

East Ayton Birding said...

Wasn't sure if all of the tail was visible Michael. Looks short, which would point to field vole.

RB said...

Definitely Bank Vole. Field V are never that reddish, but Bank V also have a distinctive two-toned tail - dark on top and light below, easily seen in the pic.

East Ayton Birding said...

Thanks for that, never knew about the two-toned tail. Shows in images I've taken myself.

Ncr Flowers said...

undoubtedly great pictures