Friday, 30 December 2011

Friday 30th. December 2011

Well , never too old to try something new the old saying goes , so this morning I set off to do some birding around Hayes Farm , by bus . No Warren , not the actual birding from the bus , just the getting there and back . Mind you , as I waited outside Hayes railway station for a connecting bus , a Mistle Thrush was in full song , and was joined just as the bus arrived by a Redwing . Arriving at the farm , I had the place to myself , with most dog walkers having done their bit , but a few energetic runners were still in the throes of theirs . The usual mixed Gull flock was on the horse paddocks , but no sign of any Corvids on the ground today . A single Fieldfare called and flew off from the edge of the woods , and several Rose Ringed Parakeets flew over noisily . An odd Chaffinch and a mixed Tit flock on the edge of the woods and 4 Cormorants , looking as if they had just left the Fishery , was all that was about . Arriving at the Fishery , it was bitter , with the usual strongish wind blowing across the highest point on the farm . I was pretty sure that the female LTDuck wouldn't be seen , as I have seen a couple of non-sightings since the first time I couldn't find her . I suppose she could be on the other fishing lake close by , but there is no access to that . A scan
around the lake found little change , apart from the Gadwall numbers having increased to 7 and the Little Grebe dropping one to 3 . No sign of the Egyptian Geese , but there were a couple of Canada Geese on the far side , along with the white farmyard variety and the couple of farmyard/Greylag crosses . The pair of Mute Swans decided to take off soon after I arrived , only to turn around and land exactly where they started from . An angler turned up and went to their shelter , putting anything on that bank into the water and heading for the middle , but nothing exciting came from that either . Ever since seeing a posting that a Water Rail was seen there , I have always scanned the two small reedbeds on the far side of the lake , but only found the resident Moorhens and Coots and several of
the latter were again engaged in 'square dance' practice . In not good light conditions today , I could see something moving on the edge of one of the reedbeds , but being 75ish mtrs. away , it was difficult to make out what it was with binoculars . Then , whatever it was got spooked by a couple of Coots , and disappeared . Getting colder by the minute , I had another look and on the edge of the
water , a bit further away from the reedbed was the Water Rail . I managed a few long distance
record shots of the bird , before once again the Coots chased it . It did reappear once more very briefly , before the white farmyard geese decided en masse to haul out of the water right infront of the Water Rail , and that was the last I saw of it . I hung around for a while , and in that time two of
the Cormorants , both juveniles , landed on the floating duck houses in the middle of the lake , much to the annoyance of the angler and another that had joined him . Much hand clapping and arm waving ensued , and I decided that any more time spent getting cold would be a total waste of time . I started heading for the bus stop , seeing the two Cormorants circling the lake , until one of them made a
respectable landing in the top of a large Oak . The other one kept circling the tree , attempting to land near the first one . After several attempted crash landings , it gave up and headed towards the other
lake , to be followed by the other one . The only other interest were 6 House Sparrows , just before reaching the road . I was lucky with both buses on the way home , but still arrived frozen , and with the first spots of rain . I was glad to see the Water Rail , but it could have been an expensive sighting , 4 bus fares @ £2.20 , had it not been for the Freedom Pass .


Warren Baker said...

I didn't think you had to pay for bus fares at your age Greenie :-) :-) :-)

I'm just envious mate, ducks, grebe, Coot and a water rail, all rare on my pond, if seen at all!!

Alan Pavey said...

Great finding the Water Rail Greenie, a good bird anywhere!!