I got my 50th garden bird today, and what a cracker it was too!
I went over to Beverley to do some shopping in the morning with several Kestrel, a Peregrine Falcon and 2 Red Kites seen over the wolds along the A1079 all on the way back, as we drove over Bubwith Bridge a flock of 200+ Pink-footed Geese was noted flying north along the Lower Derwent Valley with a large herd of Whooper Swans to the south of the Bridge. As we turned into my street I noticed the Wood Pigeon scatter and I caught a glimpse of a large low raptor.... I jumped out of the car just in time to catch sight of a Peregrine cruising straight over my garden! Awesome, 50 species up in about 96 days in our new house!
I spent the last couple of hours over at the Geoff Smith Hide at North Duffield this evening, it was fairly dull and cold and it appeared as though the wind was getting up. I didn't attempt to count everything due to there being lots of birds present and a constant range of disturbance such as low flying planes, people in vehicles near the waterbody, 'bird-watchers' and dog walkers... it makes me laugh a little, last week whilst I was twitching the Turtle Dove a guy appeared in full camouflage gear, a little overkill I thought considering he was going onto a housing estate to look at a bird, today a 'bird-watcher' in full camouflage gear walked right out along the river bank and stood out like a sore thumb as he flushed every bird on the water. Wear the clothes, fine, but please learn some fieldcraft!
Northern Shoveler in flight © Dan Pancamo 2010.
Anyway... I counted Shoveler and got 115, an increase on previous totals but still probably too low a count in reality. Other birds recorded included: Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall (15), Moorhen, Coot, Pochard, Greylag Goose (4), Black Swan, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Shelduck (1), Grey Heron (1). Waders included Oystercatcher (2), Lapwing (1000s), Golden Plover (c.1000+), Dunlin (c60-80+) and Ruff (6), the latter species my first record at the site this year.
A Barn Owl was noted distantly on the far side of the river and the final bird of the day, rather fittingly, was a male Peregrine that drifted low over the waterbody before landing in a field in front of the hide!
Waterfowl numbers were up, I'd like to count them, maybe tomorrow, though the lure of the Wheldrake Gull Roost will be hard to ignore tomorrow with a juvenile Iceland Gull and 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls reported there this evening.
Was good to meet up with some local birders, nice to finally meet you Zing!