Saturday, 19 February 2011

Work and Pleasure...

Yesterday the weather was poor, today it was a whole lot worse!

Yesterday I was sat in a field on the Yorkshire Wolds on the edge small town by a main road for 5 hours, my survey site was a small single field, ploughed and recently drilled by the look of it - totally bare. I didn't hold much hope of seeing anything of any interest however a vocal flock of 320 Pink-footed Geese flying over at height was a nice surprise. Several hours passed with little activity, the odd Common Gull and a female Kestrel. A bolt out of nowhere came in the form of a female Peregrine, it shot straight across my field and down after the Kestrel, both vanishing over the brow of the hill. I'll admit to being a little surprised by this, especially given my location, however about 45 minutes later (presumably) the same bird shot back across my site hunting Wood Pigeons before flying north and out of sight. It really makes me think, many of the sites I visit are random fields in the middle of nowhere, yet there always seems to be a decent bird around!

Today I awoke to snow! Not what I was expecting. I resisted the very large urge to head to Oxfordshire - though this is getting harder and harder! I had planned to go to Wheldrake for the afternoon, finishing off with the gull roost however this was not going to happen today in this weather so I opted to do some jobs around the house. Eventually the lure of the cold wet fog pulled me away from the imminent painting and decorating and I headed over to North Duffield Carrs. I was surprised to find another car in the car park on my arrival given the weather. I made my way to the Geoff Smith Hide and started to count the birds. Very few birds today, however I managed the following:

102x Whooper Swan, 56x Mute Swan, 1x Black Swan, 98x Shoveler, 448x Wigeon, 51x Teal, 45x Mallard, 52x Coot, 1x Goldeneye, 5x Pintail, 7x Tufted Duck, 2x Gadwall, 1x Little Grebe, 2x Moorhen, 366x Lapwing, 1x Snipe, flushed by hunting Barn Owl which flew around and showed much better than the following photo implies.

Barn Owl taken this evening from Geoff Smith Hide (phone-scoped)

A range of typical birds were around the feeders: Robin, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Long-tailed Tit and Blackbird.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better weather! I may even get to the gull roost at Wheldrake...

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