Sunday, 6 January 2013

Sunday January 6

Another grey, mild day, and this time I was joined by Dave as I again decided to start at Church Farm. This was pretty tough on Dave who is suffering from a bad back and sciatica, and in the end we cut out the south end to save him from continuing discomfort.

Having established a year-tick platform yesterday, I was keen to mop up as many easy ones as possible, and the first of these, a Greylag Goose, flew past while I was waiting for Dave to arrive. I also saw a flock of 35 Siskins burst out of the alders by the tractor sheds, and later added another dozen elsewhere giving me a personal record count of 47 for the day. A flock of 220 Starlings and 40 Fieldfares flew into the pasture field below the sheds, making quite an impressive sight.

Once Dave joined me, I suggested we walk up the road to Bannams Wood, and then down the hedge-line to the pool in order to see if the Tawny Owl was showing in its usual hollow. A Coal Tit in the corner of the wood was another year-tick, and the walk back was to accrue four more, which I see is another record count, albeit a soft one. The Tawny Owl duly obliged, tick, and we reached the pool where a further tick was in store. A pair of Coot were on the pool. This was actually a bit of a surprise as there haven't been any for about a month and in 2012 I had to wait until February for them to turn up.

Tawny Owl
The main objective was to give Dave a chance to see the Jack Snipe, and we flushed six (another personal record) in exactly the same spot as I had seen them yesterday. Eight Common Snipe also went up, and as yesterday I chose not to disturb the rest of the marsh. My reasoning was that any further sightings of Jack Snipe could easily involve duplication.

Jack Snipe
 The flash produced 37 Teal, about 80 Lapwings, a Snipe, and another surprise year-tick, a Green Sandpiper. This was the first here since mid-autumn, but I do normally get one in January. Things then settled down as we trudged back towards Netherstead, although I noticed that a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming, the mild weather no doubt turning it's thoughts towards spring.

The walk back along the road was a departure from our usual routine, and it was noteworthy for the number of Coal Tits, Goldcrests (seven), and Bullfinches we came across. Only three of the latter, but when I think of where the ones I saw yesterday were, there must have been at least eight birds on the patch this weekend. Two more easy year-ticks were added, a Treecreeper and a Nuthatch, leaving my list on 57 (plus Feral Pigeon).

We spoke to John, who was making a late arrival, and he later texted to say that he had seen five Jack Snipe.

A pretty satisfactory day.

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