Monday, 14 December 2009

Monday 14th. December 2009

Another grey start to the day , but hoping for something better , I dropped Carol off in the town , and headed for High Broom Woods , in the hope of finding Siskins and Redpolls . A small stream runs through the length of this narrow wood , and it is skirted by houses on the two long sides , and the stream is lined with very tall Alders , the seeds of which are much sought after by the Siskins . As I entered the wood , a light drizzle started to fall , but that and the low temperature did not subdue the birdsong . A Song Thrush was by far the loudest , but Robin , Great Tit , Nuthatch and Wren , were all singing , as if Spring was round the corner . Blackbird , Redwing and Rose Ringed Parakeet were also heard . A flock of small birds were seen further along the path , but they turned out to be not the sought after Siskins , but Chaffinches , which flew into a large Oak , where a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming that this was his patch . Corvids were represented by Jackdaws , Carrion Crows , a Magpie and a Jay . As I crossed the small stream , I disturbed the resident Grey Wagtail , which headed off downstream calling . Collared Dove , Woodpigeon and Bullfinch were added to the list , along with Blue , Coal and Long Tailed Tit . The last record was Green Woodpecker as I was leaving the wood . The only shot I took there , was of one of my favourite trees in the wood , A magnificent Sweet Chestnut , spiralling it's way out of the ground . With a bit more brightness on offer , I decided to visit South Norwood Country Park , at Elmers End . Walking in , I checked the Alders near the lake for Siskins , but all I found were Goldfinches . A look at the lake revealed that the Shovelers were still in residence , and increased in number . Straight away , the Mallards , Coots , Moorhen and Tufted Ducks came over looking for bread . The Tufted shot is just to wind up , again , a fellow blogger . Also on the lake were three species of Gull , Black-headed , Common and Lesser Black-backed , interesting to compare the size differences . At the second vantage point , two sightings of a Kingfisher , as it flew first away , and shortly afterwards , back towards where I was standing , but it didn't stop . As I left the lake and headed into the open areas , I recorded Dunnock and Chiffchaff . At the bend in the small stream that runs past the lake , a Sparrowhawk was making a determined effort at flushing out a meal from the low vegetation , as it came through low and fast . Sitting tight in a tree close by was this Song Thrush , that didn't move a muscle till the danger was over . Things went a bit quiet for a while , but came to life with this male Kestrel , perched looking for it's next meal . He made several sorties into the low vegetation , but didn't seem to be very successful . I just had him lined up for another shot , when he decided that he had had enough of me , and headed off to the other side of the Park . Whist in the same area , a Grey Heron flew over , heading for a reedy area , a small flock of Stock doves passed over too , showing their grey rumps and lack of wing bars . The call alerted me to two Fieldfare which I saw briefly in the long grass , but then more calls , as a flock of 15/20 headed in the direction of the lake . Walking around , I duplicated many of the species seen at High Broom Woods , imparticular , the Rose Ringed Parakeets . As a had almost got back to the lake , alongside the small stream , I found this specimen enjoying a brief spell of sunshine between the clouds . As I got closer , it flew to the other side of the Willow it was sitting in . I followed it round , and found it sitting outside a nest hole , just 4 mtrs. off the ground . As if standing sentry , it didn't fly off again , allowing a really close up shot , just a shame it was in the shade of the tree . In the short distance of the stream alongside the lake , I then got four more sighting of a Kingfisher , all within 5 minutes or so . Two were by a small pool where the path crosses the stream , two further on . I did hang around the pool for a while , bit it didn't return whilst I was there , and once again , no picture . I can't be sure , but all sightings were probably of the same bird , but great to see anyway . A last look at the lake showed that some of the Shovelers had moved to the side of the island out of the wind , and in the sunshine , and had been joined by a couple of Canada Geese . The last two sightings before leaving the Park , were a Brown Rat , not surprising with all that water about , and a Carrion Crow , caught against what happened to be the last bit of blue sky , before a broad band of cloud moved in .
I headed home for lunch , well happy with 40 species on the list , especially as it's back to hedgelaying up on the Greensand Ridge for the next two days .


Warren Baker said...

40 species Greenie, and some goodies at that!

Ive been studying you tufted duck photo, ready for when I get one on my lake. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great post, Greenie.
I`ve noticed Song Thrushes singing. Must be claiming their territories early.

ShySongbird said...

What a good variety you saw! I haven't even glimpsed a Kingfisher all year. That tree really is beautiful what a magnificent trunk, it looks so tactile.

It was nice to see your garden birds on the previous post too and I hope you aren't finding the hedgelaying too cold!