Sunday 3 February 2019

Snow days

It's been a bit wintery this week.

I managed a midweek excursion to the patch on Wednesday (one benefit of working at home), frosty ground made it an ideal day to walk through the fields towards the Preceptory and back via High Chibburn and Druridge Farm.

A song thrush was on the path towards the hides and the usual selection of duck were on the big pool which remained unfrozen. Towards the Preceptory a handful of lapwing and golden plover were feeding in the pasture field - they sat tight as a peregrine passed over heading north, it was high so they probably did the right thing.

Down to the farm and a large flock of about 25 chaffinches where in the small copse with three coal tits - it's so unusual to see coal tits at this time of year at Druridge, they are normally just an autumn bird.
One of the coal tits at the farm
House sparrows and skemmie pigeons were numerous around the farm buildings but I was hoping for yellowhammers - I was out of luck there. Stock doves were notable in the fields as I returned along the road to Druridge and a large female sparrowhawk flew past me and landed on the fence.

In the hawthorns a robin sat out - my first of the year.

Robin in the hawthorns
On Saturday Janet joined me and we walked the same route - only this time there was snow underfoot and all around us - the song thrushes on the track had multiplied to four.

Snowy track to the hides where song thrushes flew
The field that held the goldies now had over 70 curlew feeding with a few lapwing, goldies and black-headed gulls for company, with a couple of hundred starling.

As we walked to the farm, two skylark flew up calling, 'the cold weather has brought them in' I said to Janet.

snowy track

frozen fields with a flock of pink-feet flying over
Ten tree sparrows were flitting about the farm with the chaffinches and house sparrows and as we approached the cottages two fieldfare flew over the fields - another bird of hard weather.

In front of Druridge Farm at least 800 pink-footed geese grazed, a single greylag was the only exception. We cut through to the beach hoping for snow buntings which we didn't see but we did see five meadow pipits in the dunes - another species brought in by the cold.

With no home-working this week, it will be the weekend before I am back.. but the evenings are getting lighter now and some post-work birding isn't far off.

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