|Chaffinches enjoying a bath|
At long long last another birding day and about time to, my word have I been busy of late well the last two months in fact, (hence very little winter birding), but now early spring has nearly arrived its back to business. With March just around the corner I am certainly looking forward to it especially recording those fantastic Wheatears and hopefully the odd Black Redstart or two which over the years have become a little more elusive. Now for today, what a beauty it was with some much needed sunshine and calmer winds I was hopeful of some early raptor movement, well in fact it was pretty good recording 5 Common Buzzards, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 3 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels many of which headed south/east. The cemo wasn't to bad either with a Firecrest by the main entrance, 1 Woodcock and 8 Goldcrests, and with a Mediterranean Gull that Dave had near the rubbish dump the daily total was a very respectable 41 species, (and still without a Dunnock!!! although Dave has). The other bits around were 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Corn Buntings, 15 Chaffinches, 10 Skylarks, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Goldfinches, 15 Rooks, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 35 Stock Doves, 450 Wood Pigeons, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker and 15 Blue Tits.
Monday 17th February
Well what a great day this was with some decent weather followed by another excellent winter record for the patch, between us Dave and I watched the area for several hours recording some pretty nice birds, but the best of them all and the first ever February record was a Great Grey Shrike the 6th record for the site which I flushed from exactly the same piece of hedgerow near the paddocks as last years October bird, strangely that was also on the 17th, and it did the same routine as last time, after a brief nervous 5 seconds it was noted heading off very strongly in the region of Westwood Cross, and it was seen to drop, I/we are pretty sure that this is the same overwintering bird doing a typical large circuit as they do, but where it goes from here well the chase is on. As mentioned the rest of the day was also good as we pretty much covered most areas and recorded 40 different species including 1 female Merlin west, 1 Common Buzzard south, 2 Peregrines, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Firecrests, 3 Goldcrests, 7 Corn Buntings, 20 Skylarks, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Grey Partridges, 3 Goldfinches, 34 Chaffinches, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Stock Doves, 360 Wood Pigeons, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Golden Plover north, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 7 House Sparrows, 2 Redwings, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Linnets, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 8 Common Gulls and 8 Jays.
Sunday 16th February
Dave was out for a short time today and recorded 1 Firecrest, 1 Peregrine, 1 Little Owl, 1 Sparrowhawk, 9 Long-tailed Tits, 12 House Sparrows, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Jays, 2 Skylarks and 1 Corn Bunting.
Dave spent a few hours out today and produced another good patch bird when a Raven was seen heading over the rubbish dump late morning, once again this is the first February record for this species on the patch, he also recorded 1 Little Owl, 1 Peregrine, 8 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Goldcrests, 3 Green Woodpeckers and 17 Chaffinches.
Saturday 8th February
Once again just a very quick 10 minute watch which surprisingly produced a Red Kite which headed west over the main entrance at 12:30pm, this in turn is the first ever February record for the patch.
A very quick 10 minute look in the cemo produced a Firecrest by the main entrance.