When we arrived at the obsolete railway station yesterday morning it was still raining, despite the forecast explicitly stating that any rain would have cleared into the North Sea by 10 am. The usual Mistle Thrush was absent, but there was the gentle singing of Song Thrush, which everyone managed to see, whilst 2 Wrens violently duetted at either side.
Red KiteWe'd travelled a few hundred yards when I heard the 'Zip' calls of Yellowhammer, and we managed to locate those too. Both the song Thrushes & the Yellowhammers had disappeared by the afternoon. We followed the path down, then crossed the road & climbed up to an escarpment. Here, there was actually a singing Yellowhammer, plus plenty of finches including mainly Chaffinches, but also a few Goldfinches, and a single Greenfinch. In the afternoon all these small passerines had departed, to be replaced by a Red Kite & a Buzzard hanging around the Rabbit warren. These rabbits are under siege, because in the morning a Stoat's head popped up out of the rabbit hole, scattering 2 adult rabbits. A Leeser Black-Backed Gull headed south overhead.YellowhammerYellowhammerWe hadn't gone much further when both groups encountered a pair of Bulfinches. In the morning the make was busy preening his rump, but in the afternoon the pair were indulging in the rarely seen courtship display. Only one other group has witnessed this in 10 years of the classes. You can see the results of that here:GreenfinchWe carried on, and the bushes seemed very quiet for a while, with just a Buzzard briefly visible from the defile in which we walked. As we neared a railway bridge we encountered another flock of mixed finches. At first they all appeared to be Chaffinches, but then a male Greenfinch was glimpsed and then finally a pair of female Bramblings were seen. These were quite well hidden, and not everyone could see them properly. They were still present in the afternoon, and one just happened to sit in the sun for a while, although it was almost completely obscured by twigs. However, in the end every participant was able to observe that it was very different from the female Chaffinches nearby.Record Shot of BramblingRecord Shot of BramblingThere were more Bullfinches around, but we tended to only obtain brief, almost always obscured views. A little further on we disturbed a pair of Sparrowhawks. The male headed east along the hedge, while the female cut across the open field in a westerly direction. We reached a rickety looking railway bridge and from here the morning group watched a pair of Goldcrests. In the afternoon all this activity had ceased, but a Marsh Tit was heard in this area. Both groups looked into a field to the north, and saw a single Red-legged Partridge.Red KiteDittoGoldcrestGoldcrestRed-legged PartridgeGoldcrestGoldcrestOn the return journey both groups saw a pair of Long-tailed Tits, and enjoyed better views of the Bullfinches. The morning groups had another sighting of a pair of confiding Goldcrests.