Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Wednesday 19th December

Another cold day with a hard frost in the morning. I took a 30 minute stroll out over the plots on the research station at lunchtime. Both Redwing and Blackbird numbers seem to have risen significantly since I did my BTO atlas count last week. I counted 30x Redwing in one small section of windbreak near the main buildings and 15x Blackbirds picking through a 10m row of windfall apples. Fieldfares flocked out the windbreaks as I passed, and across the site I could see at least 3 flocks of Fieldfares in the air at any given time. Again there were large numbers (50+) flocking onto the overhead wires, along with a large flock of Starlings (100+). I only managed to cover a small number of plots and although there were small flocks of Chaffinches I again had no luck locating a Brambling.

Interestingly I did spot a distinctive looking Carrion Crow across one of the fields, although distantly (hence poor quality pic). The majority of it's primaries were white, but it was the only bird like this in the flock of about 20. I've heard that crows often get whitening on primary feathers as they become worn, but I wondered why only this individual seemed to be affected?

I counted 94x Greylag Geese and 2x Greylag-Canada Goose hybrids feeding in the fields close to the East malling-Ditton footpath. I had seen about half this number come in to land on Streamside Lake at New Hythe yesterday while waiting for a Bittern to appear. It made me wonder if these the East Malling birds coming into roost for the night, as I'd heard the Canada/Barnacle Geese flock has been seen flying over St. Martins Square, Larkfield which lies directly between the 2 sites.


Steve said...

I was hoping for Bittern tonight but no sign between 4-4.45.....nicely composed pic of starling btw!

Tony Morris said...

Hi Adam, there seem to be some populations were many Carrion Crows have white wings or patches in the wings. When I worked in London the increasing number in Regent's Park (up 100) had about 50% with white in the wings. I don't see so many down here at St Margaret's but I get a regular with some white in the wings in the garden.

Adam said...

Cheers Tony

I've spotted the odd one or two in the past but as you mentioned I'd expect it to be a higher proportion.