Sunday, February 03, 2019

Cold Weather List.

At this time there is nothing like a short sharp spell of cold weather to give the Local Patch list and the patch lister a good shake up.

This weekend has been cold, often below freezing and snowy, more so inland. This has the effect of moving some birds around the countryside as they look for some frost and snow free grass nearer the coast.

On Saturday I was hoping to add the two winter thrushes to the list. On the north east coast they have moved off to the south and west by now so without an arctic blast can be tricky.
In the morning there was no sign but mid afternoon saw the expected arrival of 40 Redwing and 15 Fieldfares into the village. As a bonus, a Water Rail gave its demented mammalian squeal from the ditch running alongside our lane. I stood a while but viewing is difficult. A nice count of 41+ Tree Sparrows were at the garden feeders.

This morning the weather was clear and fine but very cold. The remaining snow was frozen onto dry surfaces. Thesed are the nicest of winter days.

We began at Craster with the intention of relocating the Firecrest but we didnt have any luck. I will keep at it because I think it is a wintering bird so hopefully wont have gone too far. As we looked a Peregrine flew steadily North along the heughs and the village was ringing with Willow Tit calls. At least 5 birds were calling, one of these also went into song for a while.

Tree Sparrows at the garden feeders.

Barn Owl

Kestrel new out of roost with the bully boys waiting.

Song Thrush. A few around today.

A few Goldcrests but no Firecrest.

Great to find so many Willow Tits here including this one singing.
A Barn Owl hunted the paddock and field edges in bright sunshine flushing maybe 15 Meadow Pipits.  The second patch Ringed Plover of the year was in the harbour. This is a good show for this less than annual species here. 8+ Crossbills flew high west, their calls echoing around the rocky cliff faces. Finally 2 Collared Doves were singing from telephone poles in the estate.

We then moved back along to Howick to check some stubble fields for buntings. There were plenty of birds but no scarcer species. There were 20+ Meadow Pipits, 27+ Skylarks, 15+ Linnets, 2 Stock Dove, 200 Golden Plover, 166+ Curlew and 44+ Redwing. 5 Yellowhammers and a Reed Bunting were in the farm yard.

Back at home the view from our kitchen and bathroom windows into the back field gave 4 Fieldfares, a Redwing, 2 Golden Plover, 1 Lapwing, 1 Curlew and 6 Black headed Gulls in a place usually devoid of bird life.

So thats another 7 species added to the list. With common wintering species now drying up, maybe the next few weekends will give something with a bit of zest?


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