Friday, 1 March 2013

Has Winter Been Defeated?

On Thursday we had another sunny day on the wolds. What a difference from last week! We had only just left the car when I heard a Marsh Tit sneeze, and it posed long enough for everyone to get decent views. Last week the hedgerow was completely barren, but today there were singing Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits and at the furthest end a Song Thrush. On the way back there was also a wheezing Greenfinch. This could be glimpsed singing in the far side of a Weeping Willow. As we came into the open a stunning male Kestrel was seen, but on the return journey this had departed, to be replaced by a female.
All photos (c) 2013 Richard Whateley
Red Kite 
 Marsh Tit (MJF)
Song Thrush
Climbing to the hill top we saw a Red Kite, and halfway up the hill we came across a small Common Buzzard perched on a post.  It and another spent the rest of the day in the area, apparently feeding on earthworms. The Pied Wagtail was quite a surprise - these insectivorous birds seem to have been in short supply this Feb, but maybe they are starting to return?  When we reached the far gate we saw a couple of pairs of Buzzards soaring on a thermal. Just like last week there was no sign of last year's Little Owl. On the return journey a pair of Mistle Thrushes landed on distant telegraph wires. A debate was held if these tiny birds could really nearly be as large as Green Woodpeckers. The were a long way off though - shades of Father Ted? 
Goldcrest with a species of Blow Fly (MJF)

 'Singing' Pied Wagtail
 Red Kite looming over Pied Wagtail
 Pink-footed Geese

On the way back I managed to pick out a distinctive sound above the cackle of voices. It was a flock of 100+ returning Pink-footed Geese heading North-west.

The afternoon rang true to form with fewer small birds present, but we did still see a Marsh Tit, and Liz glimpsed a Goldcrest, I think the others would admit to having more than a glimpse! 
Jackdaw - not sure why Richard took this one!

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