The Winter Term starts next week, so here's a few birds we are likely to see. We will be visiting a large urban park, where we hope to see Redpolls, Siskins, winter wildfowl and a Sparrowhawk. The first signs of spring may be noted including drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers and the lovely melancholy song of the Mistle Thrush. However the highlight is expected to be a large number of Goosanders. Apparently, Hull is the only major UK city which has upto 30 Goosanders each winter - indeed I have every reason to believe that it was these Goosanders, which was the one thing which swung the City of Culture accolade in Hull's favour!
Great Spotted Woodpecker
During the rest of the term we will be going to a number of water-filled locations where we are hoping to encounter Smew and Kingfishers, and many other wildfowl species.
Smew (c) 2014 Vince Cowell
We will also be visiting a number of sites which harbour large birds of prey including Hen Harriers, Short-eared Owls, Red Kites and Buzzards.
The venues are already planned, however if we have an influx of Waxwings or Long-eared Owls we may change plans to have a rendezvous with them.
In all we expect to encounter nearly 100 species during the 10 weeks of the course, and to learn the rudiments of birdsong, which is just starting to pickup.
It's not too late to book on the 10-week Winter (Large Raptor) term, which begins on 13th of January. Most of the mornings look as though they are already full, or almost full, but there are plenty of spaces on Friday am or Friday pm. If you are interested in another session, please ask. For 2 hours a week encounter the natural world as a completely new sensual experience. You'll be amazed what you'll find just by listening, and not only be looking! In the winter we'll be paying special attention to trying to see large raptors. We should be seeing Red Kites, Buzzards, Peregrine, and may also encounter Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owls and Long-eared Owl. We'll also be visiting some wetland sites to identify wildfowl, and we hope to see Kingfishers too. So, if you are interested in learning more about your local wildlife in beautiful and secluded venues for less than £10 a week, then this is the course for you! We visit a different local hotspot each week and identify all the birds and as much other wildlife as we can. Each session lasts at least 2 hours. The course runs twice daily Tuesday to Friday.