Monday, 6 December 2010
Monday 6th December 2010
Bradbourne House - PRIVATE SITE
It wasn't a good start to the weak - freezing fog, black ice and a puncture! I managed to locate the Redpolls again near at the northern end of Oaken Wood, all I could pick out were Lessers and I think that's all there is in there. They were feeding close to the track from Gallagher's Underpass but the fog was so dense they seemed little more than murky blobs on the end of branches. Five Bullfinches were seen, with three of them associating with the Redpolls, even joining the flock when they flew. A pair of Jackdaws 'chak-kowed' near Kiln Barn Farm, a seemingly regular visitor to the patch now.
Three distant Pochard - the bird on the right sporting a 'blue' bill
At work I had a couple of reports of a Lapwing near the bypass road at the back of the main lab buildings and 3x Woodcock being flushed near Bradbourne House on Friday evening. So at lunchtime off I set towards Bradbourne. I passed through the apple orchard just west of the main lab buildings and it was alive with winter thrushes (Fieldfares and Redwings) as well as Starlings, a noticeable increase in numbers since Friday. The windbreak Alders were still frozen and a small charm of Goldfinches fed voraciously on the catkins and on the fallen seed in the road. They weren't as flighty as normal, obviously getting desperate for food.
Spot the Gadwall - a master of disguise, it's plumage identical in colour to dank, browny-grey, winter lake water!
Walking towards Park Farm, I picked out 12x Skylarks, 40+ Linnets and 7x Pheasant in the weedy patch near the white gate but no Woodcock today. A mist hung over Bradbourne Lake and all the usual suspects were in attendance (Coot, Moorhen, Canada Geese, Grey lag Geese, Black-headed Gull, Little Grebe, Mallard) but were joined by 3x Pochard and 4x Gadwall - rare ducks for this lake. I tried my best to get some pictures through the fog but they were all pretty disappointing! I noticed one of the Pochards had what appeared to have a blue tag on it's bill, but I could make out the marks/lettering on it. A quick search on the internet revealed a thread on BirdForum which suggests its a system used on the Continent...I'll have to investigate further.
4x Lapwing were feeding under the Holm Oaks near the Hatton Fruit Garden, another sign of the desperation. However the best bird was to be found last, a Woodcock, sitting out the sub-zero temperatures in the steam outlet. To think it had taken me 12 years to get this bird on the patch list but managed three sightings in as many days...and what a fantastic view!
Another case of spot the bird.