Saturday 4 December 2010

Nice to be back

I was so pleased to get out and go birding today, having fought my way to work and back every day and stuck at home all last weekend it was great to be back on the patch. What made it even better? Quality winter birding!
To kick off - lots of geese between Druridge and Hemscotthill, approaching 1000 pink-foots with nine pale-bellied brents in with them. I didn't get the scope for out for fear of scaring them, so I didn't get a chance to grill them for any other species.

Pink-footed geese near Druridge Hamlet
I had a good walk around the patch, the most obvious and amazing thing was the number of woodcocks, they were everywhere! I din't need to walk through the bushes, there were four in the willows by the Budge screen, twelve in the pine plantation by the entrance, four in the scabby blackthorns at he north end and even one in the mugwort valley of death. There was shooting going on in the surrounding shelterbelts all day - I wonder if it was woodcock they were after?

The only woodcock  curlew photo I managed to get - I think a fox may have got it first
 Whilst looking for woodcocks to photograph, I saw a stoat prancing about after something, no photo's sadly but great to watch.

The big pool had lots of wildfowl on it, nothing unusual, just common winter ducks, wigeon was the most numerous at 250.
Winter wildfowl on the big pool
There were lots of small birds on the move too. A flock of 50 or so skylarks were put up by a sparrowhawk, 60 twite where in the dunes to the north, two flocks of long-tailed tit and a flock of 55 goldfinch were roving about.
goldcrest on teasel
Nothing of note on the beach other than this gruesome dead grey seal minus its eyes and a peregrine over the dunes.
Not looking good.....

At High Chibburn Farm an incredible 29 yellowhammers were keeping their feet warm on top of the cowsheds and 20 or so skylark fed on spilled grain by the barn.
One of 29 yellowhammer son the roof of the barn at High Chibburn Farm
So not a bad days winter birding - 51 species without even trying.


Stewart said...

Ian, thats not a woodcock...looks like either a curlew or a bar tail...deffo not a woodcock though...

Ipin said...

you're right - it's a (was) a curlew.

Warren Baker said...

It was a seal though Ipin ;-)