Monday 17 October 2016

The easterly wind that just keeps giving...

The wind has been out of the east for well over a week now and it just keeps bringing the birds. I didn't manage to get onto the patch during week because of work, other than a quick look around the plantation on Thursday evening when I saw and heard a siberian chiffhcaff (tristis) in the willows by the entrance. It looked very drab compared to the collybita that was in the same tree, It's call was really obvious - quite a sharp, almost monosyllabic 'peep' which it did frequently.

Not really being one for twitching, I decided against heading south to see any of the Siberian Accentors that have turned up and concentrated on the patch (and football) instead. There will be one in the county by the end of the week...

Saturday morning was damp, with light rain/mizzle most of the morning, I started in the plantation and work north towards the 'Mike Carr Path'. There had been a big arrival of birds on Friday (I was on Holy Island and it was 'hotching') and it looked like little had cleared out in the foul weather and more birds were arriving with flocks of thrushes being obvious - blackbirds, redwings and song thrushes did drop in, the fieldfares perched on treetops before moving off inland quite quickly. Goldcrests and robins were really obvious but I couldn't find anything rarer amongst them.

A single male brambling was in the willows and few siskins were seen towards the Budge screen. From the bushes, I heard some commotion of the Budge fields and looked across to see a juvenile marsh harrier coming through - it pounced on something and stayed down - presumably eating what it had caught. Eventually I had to drag myself away to go to the match.

This morning I started in the plantation where I had a group of six mealy redpolls fly in together and perch before moving on - these are the first mealies I have had on the patch since 2005! Moving on north through the bushes there were still huge numbers of goldcrests - I estimated 80-100 and plenty of thrushes, even some fieldfare were still feeding on hawthorn and whitebeam berries.

A kingfisher called and I got onto it flying north over the Budge fields -  a good year for a very scarce species on the patch.

Siskin, lesser redpolls, goldfinches and brambling were roaming about the alders. As I got to the Mike Carr path it had started to rain and I thought about heading home for lunch, luckily I couldn't drag myself away and got onto a firecrest on the edge of the path, but I was looking through the bushes at it - when I was repositioning myself to try and get a photo a male sparrowhawk shot through and scattered everything and I couldn't find it in increasingly heavy rain - time for lunch.

These two large woodpigeon young were still in the nest
The rain stopped by 2pm and I was back on the patch by 2.30 and headed for the area that the firecrest was in. The first bird I saw was a lesser whitethroat - a species I had given up on this year. I didn't get long on the bird before it flew off, not even time to reach for the camera. Superficially the upperparts appeared brown, the head was grey and the dark 'mask' was obvious but not striking. I would have loved to had more time on this bird and got some photos but it vanished and I couldn't relocate it. Onwards...

In the same area I came across a willow warbler, quite late for this species and my latest ever record on the patch. Here it is...

Willow warbler
I spent some time by the low whitebeams and watched a constant stream of goldcrests coming through with at least three chiffchaffs and then a strip warbler - not as stripy as I was hoping for though - a yellow-browed warbler - not it's more flashy cousin that I was hoping for,,,

I had to leave the warblers to do my WeBS count before it got dark. five black-tailed godwit, one ruff and a couple of little egret of note. This cormorant was nice in the setting sun.

The addition of brambling, mealy redpoll, firecrest and lesser whitethroat takes my year list 170 - one off my record tally of 171 in 2013 and 2014. Could this be a record breaking year?

1 comment:

derek said...

I now know the Budge screen is the first open screen you come to when you reach Druridge Pools but I am in the dark about the Mike Carr path, enlighten me please?