Saturday, 27 November 2010
Saturday 27th November 2010
A hard frost this morning with freezing fog saw me heading off to the northern perimeter of Oaken Wood to try and get a better look at the Redpolls I'd seen yesterday. 21x Jackdaws and 15x Rooks sat out on the gallop pasture near Kiln Barn Farm with some of both species sitting in the trees that form part of tetrad TQ75C - two new species for the winter list. The Redpoll flock were in the same spot as yesterday but equally as difficult to watch as they constantly flitted through the top of the silver birch trees. They were joined by a pair of Bullfinches and some Goldfinches and Chaffinches. All the individual Redpolls I could pick out seemed to be Lesser, although the individual show below kept me guessing (bird on the left)...it was one of 3 birds that kept separate from the remainder of the flock even when they took flight. There were areas that looked buffish, probably too much for Common, not a classic 'bleached wash' about it although the supercillium and cheek looked whiter than the adjacent birds...it seems to get harder each winter...stringing a Lesser into a Common!
Compare the bird on the right (Lesser) to the bird shown on the left in the four proceeding photos; more buffs tones around the cheek/head and less 'clean' underparts and flanks. Another 'Lesser' is shown in the photo below.
I took in the orchards at East Malling Research and as expected saw vast numbers of Fieldfares with a few Redwings and Chaffinches feeding on the fallen apples. The best orchard at the moment for watching these birds is the one just to the west of the main lab buildings where the approach road bends around the back of the buildings. This can be approached from East Malling village by following the footpath through the church, past the genebank (where the Waxwings were seen last year, but which is currently disturbed by new road construction and grubbing) and on towards the main lab buildings approx 0.5 miles away. The orchard can be viewed from the footpath where the windbreak ceases (just beyond the signposted 'Pear concept orchard'). Please remain on the footpath as the orchards themselves are private property.