Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Bleak Midwinter

Haven't posted for a while so I'll quickly round up the last month. Bagged two lifers in that time, the first came with the dozens of Common Crossbill at Broomhead Reservoir near Sheffield. Just wasn't getting any luck with well known local sites like Sherwood Pines or Matlock Forest, and learnt about Broomhead on Birdforum. Brilliant places, loads of Crossbills - saw a dozen or so and heard more - mixed in with Goldfinch, Siskin and some entertaining tit flocks. Seemed to disturb a Tawny Owl that flew through the wood around midday. Hand-fed a desperate Robin in the layby where we parked the car.
Peaceful place.

A corking Firecrest (#228) accounts for the other lifer, a now well watched bird at Moorgreen Reservoir. Apparently they are present most winters, the word just hadn't gotten out before. Locals speak of Lesser Woodpecker and some other interesting birds in there too. Looks worthy of more attention.

Both species bogey passerines I'm very happy to have finally cracked.
Dipped however on a Siberian Stonechat at Bevercotes Pit Wood near Ollerton in Notts. Several European Stonechats around, none quite so dandy as the Sib. Went a day late for that one.

A lot of action in the garden at the moment. About eight inches of snow will do that around here. Numbers of Reed Bunting have hit at least 11, lots of the common finches, Redwing and Fieldfare have been through, Great Spotted Woodpecker too, and next door's apple trees are being vigourously defended by a Mistle Thrush. Late one day a Yellowhammer came and went very briefly - noticed it among a very busy flocked mostly by the very horizontal perching shape. This morning 150+ geese were heading north-west while I had my breakfast, no chance of a defo ID but really they had to be Pink-feet.

Nothing up at Pleasley Pit at the moment, at least nothing on the water, it's been frozen for a fortnight, the last birds I saw were Snipe evacuating elsewhere just before Christmas. The winter thrushes remain, as do a single female Stonechat and lots of Yellowhammers.

Very quick visit to Rufford with family earlier this week where I managed a few photographs. Wild birds are so tame there it's difficult to go away without a decent image or three.