Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Year Birding

New Year, New Lists

January 1st saw me on my now annual walk around Gayhurst Quarry.
Nothing out of the ordinary. In fact it was rather quiet, I think the shooting has scared off a lot of  the regular stuff - roll on the end of the month !
Of course the Greylag and Canada Geese are still around, lured here by the free food on offer. likewise the many Mallards and Wigeon, but other types of wildfowl were notable for their absence.
A couple of Little Egrets stalked the river and a couple of hundred Lapwings covered the islands.
At the far end of the Fishing Pit a couple of Buzzards were squabbling over something one of them had caught.
A pair of Bullfinches and a couple of Yellowhammers added a bit of colour to the hedgerows.

Before going home I nipped back up to Caldecotte to try and see if the Great Northern Diver and Smew were still there.
 The Diver proved easy as he was just out from the pub car park but a walk down to the far end of south lake proved fruitless, as apparently the drake Smew had flown off when some idiot had driven a speedboat into the duck flock.

Later that day news came through that the Smew had relocated to Willen Lake, so this was where I headed first thing Monday morning.
 Sure there were lots of Ducks Tufted, Pochard, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, and Shoveler, but alas no sign of the Smew.
On the south lake there were lots of Great crested Grebes and one each of drake Goosander and Goldeneye. A very confiding Kingfisher sat in the bushes near the adventure centre.
                                                     Gadwall


Tuesday should have been my first day back at work but the weather was absolutely atrocious so I popped back to Willen to see if anything new had been blown in.
 Seven Little Grebes  and a Redshank seemed to be the only things that differed from the previous days tally.

A change of tack on Wednesday saw me wandering around Brickhill woods.
Lots of birds were feeding amongst the Beechmast, mainly Tits, Great and Blue with a few Coal. Several noisy Nuthatches and a couple of Great spotted Woodpeckers pecked around the trees.
 Walking down the track towards the Golf Club several flocks of Long-tailed Tits were encountered  and with a bit of scrutiny a Goldcrest and a couple of Treecreepers were found among them.
 Yesterdays rain had produced a few puddles on the track and down by the Clubhouse I flushed a couple of birds off of them - Crossbills ! These two took to the air and where they were immediately joined by 10 others and all of these settled in a nearby group of Larches where they set about attacking the cones on them.

                                             male Crossbill (you need to click on the picture)

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