This was quite an interesting visit. To begin with I picked up a distant pair of ducks heading north, the male being a Shoveler. I later found the drake Shoveler with the Mallard flock on the pool, but it flew off with them before I was able to get a satisfactory photograph. This was only the second one this year, the last being in April.
Another bit of good fortune was the discovery that at least one Brambling is still present with the finch flock.
I have always suspected that my ability to estimate the numbers of birds seen in flight becomes distinctly ropey when the flock exceeds a couple of hundred. Another problem area concerns birds which continually fly from hedgerows only to reappear in nearby hedges. The latter issue affects estimates of winter thrushes, and today was typical, with my "counts" of 150 Redwings and 70 Fieldfares probably representing an underestimate of the numbers present.
Linnets were the big story today. A Sparrowhawk flushed a load during the morning, and I jotted down "about 200" in my notebook. Later I drove to the south end where there seemed to be a few more than that. A Pheasant shoot across the road led to regular disturbance causing clouds of finches to rise before pitching back into the crop of linseed (I think). Looking through the birds in the crop I counted 13 Lesser Redpolls with them, but I was dreading coming up with any figures for the Linnets. Then I remembered my camera. Take a photograph of the flock then go home and count the dots, I thought.
|How many do you think?|
Pretty impressive. It's not always about rare birds.