I suppose the only advantage if there is one to a long cold spell in spring is that eventually the migrants that do make the return journey could potentially end up coming through in good/very good numbers, which could the longer it goes on open the flood gates, that would in a way be a great sight especially as the latest weather forecast predicts another 2 weeks of bitterly cold weather heading into the second week of April, I for one would love to record high numbers of migrant grounded birds like Wheatears etc but we will have to wait and see if this happens. Today once again was bitterly cold along with a pretty strong easterly wind but I managed to stick it out for a few hours and recorded my first Wheatear of the year which was present in the paddocks, also 7 Common Buzzards which didn't hang around to long and passed through at some speed. The only other bits noted were 5 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 1 Lapwing, 27 Redwings, 17 Fieldfares, 2 Grey Partridges, 25 Linnets, 5 Goldfinches, 7 Skylarks, 3 Meadow Pipits, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 49 Stock Doves, 25 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 40 Rooks and 2 Jackdaws.
Wednesday 27th March
At long last a nice bit of sunshine, it was still freezing cold but surprisingly there was more today than I would of expected. Probably best of all considering the conditions was a nice male Yellow Wagtail which briefly dropped into the paddocks before heading off west, there was also a singing Blackcap in the cemo, and 2 White Wagtails by the allotments so it wasn't turning out to bad after all. I also had a feeling that it might be worth hanging around for a raptor watch so I found a nice little sun trap away from the biting wind and recorded 9 Common Buzzards mainly heading east, also a female Merlin, 1 Sparrowhawk and a rather large female Peregrine which at the time was eating a rather unfortunate Stock Dove. Others noted were 29 Fieldfares, 3 Redwings, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Corn Bunting, 3 Meadow Pipits, 7 Skylarks, 19 Stock Doves, 41 Rooks, 4 Jackdaws, 2 Grey Partridges and 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Tuesday 26th March
Highlights thin that they were included 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Peregrines, 59 Fieldfares and 34 Redwings.
Monday 25th March
It would of been a lot easier spending time in the fridge rather than turning out on another bitterly cold day, but hey I suppose that is what patch watching is all about going out in all weathers no matter how dismal it can sometimes be. Today was hard work and produced very little with the only spring migrant being a White Wagtail in the paddocks, although a singing Chiffchaff was noted on the way home. Other bits that did reach the notebook were 51 Redwings, 3 Fieldfares, 15 Lapwings, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Partridges, 24 Common Gulls, 2,000+ Black-headed Gulls north, 700+ Wood Pigeons, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 8 Stock Doves and 3 Skylarks.
Thursday 21st March
I only had a quick 2 hours today, but once again it didn't disappoint when 6 Waxwings turned up, and yet again they are certainly some of the party of birds which have been around for the last 3 months. Today I decided to take a few photos of a lone bird in the group of 6 just to show how classy these winter visitors really are, later on these birds were also present in my front garden feeding on the remainder of the Cotoneaster bush. Others noted on the patch included 6 Common Buzzards with a max of 4 east at 12:50pm, also 2 female Merlins, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 2 White Wagtails, 25 Fieldfares, 25 Redwings, 2 Grey Partridges, 5 Skylarks, 1 Little Owl, 5 Meadow Pipits, 7 Chaffinches, 4 Pied Wagtails, 700+ Wood Pigeons and 23 Magpies.
Wednesday 20th March
Officially the first day of spring you've got to be kidding, I certainly did not enjoy birdwatching in freezing temperatures, along with murky misty overcast conditions especially when the gulls go mad and you cant find the culprit, but hey I did manage to stick it out for nearly 3 hours which was long enough. The results not surprisingly were little to ride home about but I did manage 3 White Wagtails in the paddocks, 4 Siskins east, 61 Redwings, 13 Fieldfares, 23 Chaffinches, 1 Grey Heron north, 7 Jackdaws, 700+ Wood Pigeons, 330 Starlings, 5 Linnets, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Common Gulls, 5 Meadow Pipits, 5 Skylarks, 1 Kestrel, 21 Magpies and 4 Mistle Thrushes.
Tuesday 19th March
It was certainly a great start to the day when at 7:30am, a nice flock of 28 Waxwings visited the garden, and was then seen soon after at Nash Road, and then a quick fly round the patch before heading off. Once again I thought these birds had gone but it was a lovely surprise to catch up with them. The patch itself did well with 48 species seen and included an excellent spring total of 13 White Wagtails in the paddocks alongside 4 Pied Wagtails. Raptors included 1 female Merlin, 3 Peregrines, 3 Common Buzzards (at neck breaking height) and 1 Sparrowhawk, the Little Owl put in a brief appearance as did a Reed Bunting which was flushed from nearby fields. Others noted were 2 Snipes north, 2 Grey Herons east, 1 Cormorant east, 21 Fieldfares, 40 Redwings, 2 Siskins, 7 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches, 35 Rooks, 3 Jackdaws, 4 Grey Partridges, 90 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, 1 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Lapwing, 3 Meadow Pipits, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 700+ Wood Pigeons, 180 Starlings and 13 Stock Doves.
Thursday 14th March
|Red Kite (distant photo 1 of 4 today)|
RAPTORS 6 SPRING MIGRANTS 2. If 2013 continues the way it has started I will certainly be a very happy man come the end of the year. With a nice bit of sunshine today I was hoping that a few Buzzards might just be on the move, the downside was that this may be prevented by a rather cold day. Strangely I thought today may be a quiet one but was soon proved wrong when I heard and saw a singing Blackcap in the allotments, and then the first White Wagtail of the year which showed for 30 minutes in the paddocks. Well by now my attitude had changed and at 10:45am, the gulls once again went berserk but after a long scan I couldn't locate the culprit, but didn't have to wait long when the first of 8 Common Buzzards arrived at 10:55am, and then 10 minutes later mixed in with them was 4 Red Kites 11:05am, including a ringed tagged individual, what a morning this was turning out to be the only downside was that the kites were very high up (hence rather poor photo), but a record shot nevertheless. All of the birds then headed off at 11:25am in an easterly direction. By this time the raptors were beginning to win the day when a Merlin headed east, also 1 Peregrine, 8 Sparrowhawks and 1 Kestrel, so recording 6 different raptor species was pretty good. I was also 99% sure that I had a female Wheatear briefly by the paddocks but was lost to view by the time I had arrived, a shame that this one got away as if confirmed would of been my earliest ever record for the patch, you win some you lose some. In total 46 different species were seen today not bad for mid March with the other being 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Waxwing east, 2 Siskins, 14 Corn Buntings, 9 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, 74 Lapwings, 45 Linnets, 2 Meadow Pipits, 20 Skylarks, 4 Chaffinches, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 13 Stock Doves, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 90 Starlings east, 34 Rooks, 8 Jackdaws, 2 Goldfinches, 60 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 20 Magpies and 1000+ Wood Pigeons.
Wednesday 13th March
Today was certainly a bitter one especially wandering around the paddocks, but was soon cheered up when the local Herring Gulls went bonkers at 10:45am, the culprit a Raven which was eventually pushed off eastwards, and was then followed by a Common Buzzard which headed off in the same direction. The cemo was quiet but produced a singing Chiffchaff for me troubles also most of the 56 Redwings and 34 Fieldfares. Other bits included a Grey Wagtail east, 1 Crossbill north, 2 Grey Partridges, 6 Meadow Pipits, 6 Skylarks, 6 Jackdaws, 10 Rooks, 40 Linnets, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Chaffinches, 1,500 Wood Pigeons, 13 Stock Doves, 60 Starlings, 1 Kestrel, 1 Cormorant north, 6 Ring-necked Parakeets and 5 Pied Wagtails.
Tuesday 12th March
After 3 months the boys are still in town, I didnt go out properly today or the last few as I have just come back from a great time in Playa de las americas Tenerife, with a total of 13 Police Officer mates on a stag do, birding no, but certainly a great time going around the bars etc enjoying the cheap beer, and scenery of course, but when arriving back in the UK I headed to Nash Road and straight away found well at first 6 Waxwings and then 8 birds happily feeding on the local berry bushes. I certainly dont get bored seeing these birds and to be honest it will probably take up (photo wise) most of March If they hang around even longer.
Friday 8th March
As yesterday but with 10 Waxwings present at 8am only.
Thursday 7th March
Today I received a call saying that there was still 40 Waxwings along Nash Road but at 11am only.
Wednesday 6th March
Another sunny and warm day produced a nice selection of birds. Best of all was the first spring migrant which was a singing Chiffchaff by the garden of rest, another Common Buzzard was seen soon after and a Little Owl put in a brief appearance which was excellent news considering this is still a rare cemo tick. There was still at least 121 Fieldfares but a slight decrease to only 16 Redwings. Other bits included 1 Lesser Redpoll east, 5 Siskins, 1 Grey Partridge, 1 Lapwing, 6 Corn Buntings, 63 Skylarks, 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 25 Linnets, 90 Starlings, 9 Jackdaws, 2 Goldcrests, 8 Rooks, 7 Goldfinches, 5 Chaffinches, 4 Stock Doves, 1,500 Wood Pigeons and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Tuesday 5th March
Here we go, the first decent sunny day in quite a while produced a total of 7 Common Buzzards including a group of 5 birds that headed east at 10:30am, other raptors resulting in 2 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. There was a nice count of 233 Fieldfares which were present in the paddocks also 41 Redwings and 53 Lapwings. Other bits noted were 1 Siskin west, 10 Chaffinches, 15 Linnets, 5 Corn Buntings, 35 Skylarks, 1,000+ Wood Pigeons, 3,000 Black-headed Gulls mainly north, 90 Starlings, 3 Meadow Pipits, 90 Rooks and 3 Jackdaws.
Sunday 3rd March
After a long hard search I couldn't relocate the Waxwings but it didnt detract from a nice few hours on the patch, best of all and only the 4th record for the site was 3 Mute Swans which headed north, OK not quite the rarity but a good cemo record even so. It certainly felt like there was a few bits on the move which included 165 Fieldfares, 25 Redwings and most notably a large number of Black-headed Gulls which totalled well over 3,000+ birds heading high to the west. Other bits noted were 2 Siskins, 2 Meadow Pipits, 45 Linnets, 1 Corn Bunting, 25 Magpies, 10 Chaffinches, 45 Ring-necked Parakeets, 7 Rooks, 2 Jackdaws, 45 Starlings, 2,000+ Wood Pigeons and 1 Green Woodpecker.
Saturday 2nd March
I hardly had any time to see much of the Waxwings yesterday so today I certainly made sure it wasn't going to happen again. In the hope that these birds would once again reappear I was not going to be disappointed and in fact not only did the numbers increase to a new patch record of 44 Waxwings, they hung around for a good 2 hours making sure that I had plenty of time to real off a few photo shots. Admittedly at first the light wasn't to good but then improved giving a much better detail of the birds present. They certainly did give a nice few different photo opportunities in different places, and probably the best for me was the shot on the Cotoneaster berries. It was also the largest flock that Dave has recorded in some time so he also went home a happy man. Back tomorrow for another session most definitely well I hope so anyway.
Friday 1st March
The Wanderers have returned and this time the largest number ever recorded for the patch, these birds 31 Waxwings in total quickly settled in Nash Road on two occasions for about 10 minutes, before doing a nice flight path by the cemo, and like the other 8 or so birds that hung around for about 2 months (or part of this group), they soon disappeared for the rest of the day.