(I remember when this blog wasn't this bad...I know, I have a long memory...)
This morning, Mr JW Rutter and myself popped 'along the doors' to do a farmland birds survey at nearby Littlemill. The farm here has entered the countryside stewardship scheme and requires info on what is around, and for this a donation is given to the Alnwick Wildlife Group.
The wind was blowing strongly, a W6, but the sun was shining so we headed off prepared to see very little on what looked like unremarkable farmland.
A few fields were planted with some kind of game or bird seed crop like this one. I'm not sure what it is, maybe Linseed or Flax? but they proved quite attractive to small seed eating species.
The area in the photo above held over 40 Brambling and 5 Tree Sparrow, while others had 38 Yellowhammers, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Linnets etc. A flock of 44 Redwing was flushed and 9 Brown Hares were spread across the relatively small area. Only 4 Grey Partridges were seen which was a little disappointing, but coveys may have been off the survey route.
The commonest species by far was the Woodpigeon, with up to 2000 present including a flock of 1200+.
Other notable species included a Jay, 2 Treecreepers and 2 Goldcrests.
The cherry on the cake came when John spotted a fully white Ermine fossicking about in some brashed pines. Unforunately it sloped off while a fumbled for the camera. I bet this is the animal from last winter seen nearby.
Oh and what of the Holly in the appalling attempt of a pun-ish ( punished!) title, this berry laden one was right next to the car as we ended the route...