31 January 2010

Sunday 31st January

Due to a busy work load it's been a few days since my last visit, but it was an enjoyable day back walking round in such pleasant conditions. There was a fair bit of activity involving the local birds including a pair of Long-tailed Tits which started to nest build quite a strange sight on a very cold day in January. Now for the bird news which included a total of 7 Woodcocks, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Siskins, 1 Fieldfare, 20 Redwings, 1 Goldcrest, 8 Goldfinches, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 1 Lapwing. There was also 3 Hares in fields by the paddocks.

Friday 22nd January

It was pretty quiet wandering around today but I did manage to get gripping views of a Firecrest which was feeding very low down in some bramble for a good 10 minutes, other bits noted were 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Woodcock and 7 Redwings.

Monday 18th January

I spent most of the morning birding in the fog, with visibility very poor I could barely see the horse paddocks let alone what was in there, so I concentrated all of my efforts in the cemetery which produced 2 Firecrests, 7 Woodcocks, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Fieldfare, 25 Redwings, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Grey Heron (west), 1 Corn Bunting, 1 Pied Wagtail, 500 Wood Pigeons (many heading west), 1 Skylark, 10 Chaffinches, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Goldfinch, 10 Mistle Thrushes, 80 Starlings and 10 Stock Doves.

Saturday 16th January
I'm a little late updating the recent sightings due to my hard drive packing up a few days ago, luckily I managed to have someone on board who fixed the problem for me and now it should be back to normal. Now to the bird news I only had a couple of hours out today with the main highlights being 3 Woodcocks, 1 Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaffs, 10 Redwings and 42 Blackbirds.

Thursday 14th January
After a couple of days of busy work I once again ventured onto the local patch covering the area between 9:30 - 11:30am, it wasn't very pleasant birding in very heavy rain but it didn't detract from the quality of birds. There was another excellent total of 19 Woodcocks including 16 in the cemetery, and 3 showing very well by the horse paddocks, the best count today was of 10 birds near the garden of rest. The cemo also held 3 Firecrests, 2 Goldcrests, 7 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 Greenfinches, 4 Chaffinches and 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, with 52 Fieldfares, 33 Redwings, 250 Lapwings and 1000 Wood Pigeons in the paddocks.

Monday 11th January

I covered the area between 9:30am - 12:30pm, in clearer conditions as like many other local places there is very little snow left. From the word go it looked busy and turned out to be pretty good with a very respectable total of 39 species. The most unexpected result was another record breaking total of 29 Woodcocks, including 2 in the allotments, 1 by the cement works and 26 in the cemetery. In one small area alone I managed to flush out an amazing 22 birds which was quite a sight and looked more like a Hitchcock horror movie, within this area there was a very small patch of bramble and leaf litter where 13 birds came out together, this was quite incredible to see them in those numbers, and the overall total has certainly smashed all records for the cemo dating back to 1991. Quite a few have moved on since yesterday but there was still 150 Fieldfares today many of which were feeding in the garden of rest alongside 100 Redwings, also in the cemo was 2 Firecrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest, 10 Chaffinches, 20 Greenfinches, 19 Goldfinches, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 7 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Jays and 15 Mistle Thrushes. The paddocks was busy and held most of the 450 Skylarks, 1 Golden Plover, 45 Corn Buntings, 10 Common Gulls, 1 Jackdaw, 100 Stock Doves and at least 3,000 Wood Pigeons, with 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Siskin and 4 Meadow Pipits heading west.

Sunday 10th January

Gutted that's the word I will probably use first as all will be revealed. I started out at 9:40am and finished at 11:35am, which was a shame as I would of stayed a lot longer but today other commitments took over. It has certainly been a fantastic start to January with some good birds already recorded, and today was no different as when I entered the horse paddocks about 6ft away was 2 Woodlarks which were showing extremely well together feeding around some ice patches which had recently formed, they were not at all bothered by my presence as they happily fed away, gutted yes due to the fact that at present my camera is being repaired due to a faulty on and off switch, (the pictures I could off had within the 10 minutes they stayed just made me even more sick, but hey that's life I suppose), but not only that within the excellent total of 21 Woodcocks seen today, two of the birds showed out in the open a mere 4-6ft away for about 5 minutes, yes lightning has just struck twice, or maybe a third time when I had discovered 1 Grey Plover not surprisingly a very rare bird here that just happened to settle nicely in between a total of 200 Golden Plovers and 49 Lapwings also in the paddocks. I just had to get it out of my mind as what will be will be (hopefully there might be other opportunities). Anyway today I was joined by the Charlton F.C enthusiast Dave Gilbert who is a little more happy now considering there start to the season, and between us we also managed to find 2 Firecrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest, 20 Chaffinches, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Kestrels, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Common Gulls and 1 Linnet, with some excellent counts of 617 Fieldfares, 70 Redwings, 103 Corn Buntings, 450 Skylarks, 60 Stock Doves and 1000 Wood Pigeons.

Saturday 9th January

I must admit I do enjoy birding in this kind of weather with a nice fall of morning snow which was certainly cold and blustery at the best of times, you also never know what to expect with birds coming further afield to look for suitable food. I started off a little bit later today covering the area between 11:30am - 1:30pm, but it didn't disappoint with a fantastic record breaking total of 24 Woodcocks (it just seems to get better), which included 2 in the allotments, 1 in the horse paddocks and 21 in the cemo, with the latter producing a total of 16 birds between the garden of rest and the crematorium, and a further 5 birds scattered around to be honest there may of been a few more. Today also produced a good number of thrushes including 403 Fieldfares and 22 Redwings all present in the horse paddocks until they all flew off and went to feed on some nearby berry bushes, also at least 450 Skylarks stayed in fields between the paddocks and cement works. The cemo also held 3 Firecrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Common Gulls, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Chaffinch and 2 Kestrels, with 3 Corn Buntings, 3 Meadow Pipits, 8 Lapwings, 60 Stock Doves and 1000 Wood Pigeons heading east over the allotments. Of interest once again there was only 1 Green Woodpecker and that was a flyover, I just hope the local birds haven't perished in this weather as they have done before.

Friday 8th January

We certainly didn't get much of the snow which was the forecast for Thursday night, but it was without a doubt bitterly cold walking round the patch this morning. Highlights included a record total of 17 Woodcocks including 15 birds in the cemetery, with singles in the allotments and horse paddocks. At one stage I managed to flush out 9 birds within just a few feet which was a pretty good sight, and just goes to show how well camouflaged these bird are just sitting tight under bramble bushes and within leaf matter. Another cemetery record was a large group of 450 Skylarks which headed east over the garden of rest eventually landing in fields by the horse paddocks making them a nice easy job to count. Other highlights today were 2 Firecrests in the crematorium, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Lapwings, 4 Meadow Pipits, 4 Goldcrests, 5 Fieldfares, 30 Redwings, 9 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinches, 8 Long-tailed Tits, 8 Common Gulls, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Kestrel, 60 Stock Doves and 1000 Wood Pigeons many of which head west.

Monday 4th January

There was certainly a nip in the air walking round but it didn't detract from another enjoyable spell. It did take a little time to get going this morning with the best highlights being 3 Goldcrests and 3 Redwings in the first 20 minutes, even the allotments were very quiet but a wander into the adjacent field by the paddocks produced, 103 Skylarks, 100 Stock Doves, 1000 Wood Pigeons, 1 Golden Plover, 218 Lapwings and 5 Snipes which were once again feeding alongside. The cemo eventually came into life when I managed to flush 7 Woodcocks in the same area, followed by 4 Firecrests which were showing very well feeding low down in some bramble, soon after there was 35 Corn Buntings over the garden of rest and 3 Chiffchaffs near the crematorium. Other bits included 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Chaffinches, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Meadow Pipits (west), 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Kestrel and 1 Common Gull.

Sunday 3rd January

I spent another couple of hours out today which produced probably my first January record of Brambling which headed west over the cemo late morning. I will have to look back on old records but I don't ever recall recording one in this month, and I know there is very few February records here. It was another enjoyable walk round with the first bird of the day being a Firecrest near the crematorium, followed by 3 Chiffchaffs around the garden of rest. There were at least 4 Woodcocks still present including 2 in the cemo, and 2 in the allotments, with the paddocks holding 3 Skylarks, 17 Linnets, 1 Corn Bunting and 2 Pied Wagtails, with 1 Golden Plover, 200 Lapwings and a Curlew feeding in the adjacent field. Other bits included 3 Redwings, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Meadow Pipits, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Goldfinches, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 13 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Common Gull, 1 Kestrel, 10, Magpies and 300 Wood Pigeons.

Saturday 2nd January

I couldn't cover my patch today, but of interest a Woodcock flew over my car heading into the cemetery when I was driving past the main entrance before football.

Friday 1st January

Fox (Colin Musselwhite)
It was certainly a cold start to the new year with a little bit of early morning snow but this does have its advantages when it comes to birding. I covered the area for about 2 hours during the morning to which I proceeded to cover every inch of potential habitat for Woodcocks. I managed in the end to flush out 5 birds including 2 in the cemetery, and 3 in the allotments. Its always nice to start the year well and it continued when 2 Chiffchaffs were recorded in the garden of rest followed by 2 Firecrests, the paddocks in general were very quiet until a flock of 400 Golden Plovers and 265 Lapwings headed over the cemo into the adjacent field. Other bits of note were 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Grey Heron (south), 4 Redwings, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Goldfinch, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 40 Skylarks, 1 Kestrel, 1 Pied Wagtail, 100 Stock Doves and 1000 Wood Pigeons in field by the cement works. I met up for a chat with Colin Musselwhite during my wander round who also gratefully sent me this great posing shot of a Fox in the garden of rest (many thanks).