Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday February 17

Initially the weather looked superb today, sunny and still. However, shortly after I arrived a bank of fog appeared, and it then remained misty all morning. I struck lucky with my first year tick of the day as I was driving up the access road past Netherstead Farm. Chirping cheerfully at the top of the hedge was a Tree Sparrow, phew. I was starting to get a bit worried that this normally ever-present species might have disappeared from the patch. Certainly last year's wet summer and the subsequent reduction in the amount of game crop available has affected many of the finches and buntings, and with them the Sparrows. Dave was a little tardy this morning, and by the time he arrived we could not relocate the Tree Sparrow.

A further arrival was five Coots, one on the dragonfly pools and the remainder on the main pool. There was nothing else on the pool beyond about 20 Mallard so we decided to walk through the marsh. This produced 19 Common Snipe, and one Jack Snipe.

The flashes were ok; 37 Teal, about 20 Lapwings, two Wigeon, and a Green Sandpiper. But on checking a likely looking tree beyond the gate I could see a small grey lump against the bark. A switch to the scope confirmed that it was our first Little Owl of the year.

The Little Owl
This species is another that is just about hanging on here. This is probably the same bird that was present last year, although it has changed tree!

We headed slowly back, and a second attempt to get Dave the Tree Sparrow produced instead his first Brambling this year. It was in the copse by Netherstead farm with about 25 Chaffinches.

This was a day for winkling out the trickier resident and wintering species rather than adding genuine new arrivals. But spring is just around the corner, and I can't wait to see what it brings.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Richard,

    A very respectable 22 Snipe and 2 Jack Snipe flushed from the wet grassland this evening, plus a Marsh Tit by Netherstead Farm.