Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday 3rd. February 2013

A catch up post on the last three days , started with a search on Friday for two small flocks of Waxwings in the Croydon area . Despite a good look around the areas , not a single bird was seen . On the way home , I went to check on the juvenile Common Buzzard , with the bonus of the sun coming out on my way there .No sign to begin with , but after a short time , it swooped down for a worm , but flew straight back into the trees at the back of the horse field . More waiting and another couple of worms brought it a bit closer , but still too far to photograph . I must admit , I was about to
give up , when it flew straight towards me and landed no more than 15 mtrs. away . Another worm
and then it flew onto one of the fence posts , and posed . Chatting to one of the local residents earlier , he had asked what it was eating and suggested Pheasants , as there were plenty about . I said that I had only seen it eating worm , and had never seen it attempt to take anything else . This was proved to be the case , as just before I left , it flew back to the trees at the back of the field and landed in a
tree , in which two female Pheasants were already perched lower down , and they didn't bat an eyelid .
With wall to wall sunshine promised for the morning , I left the house early to see if I could get some Hawfinch shots in better light conditions . I arrived at 0730 , before the sun rose and before the magical half hour when the birds are most active according to Adam / East Malling , Ditton and Barming , and he should know as they are almost on his doorstep . I wasn't the first there though , Nick , who is a fellow reptile surveyor up on the Greensand Ridge , had been there for some time already . There was some cloud about , but as the sun showed for the first time , it wasn't long before one then a second Hawfinch flew in , perching right at the top of the Ash tree . Not the best lighting
 situation , but better than being just a silhouette . During the morning a possible third bird was seen , and by the time Adam got there , it was already a mini twitch with 8/10 birders in attendance . It was just as Adam arrived that I got probably the best shots that I managed , but would loved to have got
just one without twigs in the way and not looking upwards . In all , about 15 birders arrived whilst I was there , probably more through the afternoon . Don't be fooled by the blue sky on the last shot , there was a lot more cloud than blue sky around , but at least I was lucky enough when I took those shots . By 1130 it was all clouds , so I headed back home for lunch .
This morning , I did the Down House bird survey in overcast and chilly conditions . Not a good result , with just 15 species recorded , but bankers such as Blackbird , Greenfinch ,Starling , Wren Dunnock and any species of Thrush failed to show up , which would have made it more respectable .
On my way round , a few signs of Spring were found , Dog's Mercury / Mercurialis perennis , a
member of the Spurge family , already in flower , if you can call it that , and also pushing through the
leaf litter on the woodland floor , Bluebells . A quick look at Keston Ponds on the way back found nothing apart from the usual species , and no sign of the Buzzard either , but there were several
Redwings , I haven't often said that this Winter , in the horse fields along with the Mistle Thrushes and local Corvids and Woodpigeons .
This afternoon whilst on a walk with Carol , we found the first Lesser Celandine flowers on a roadside verge , along with two yellow Crocuses , probably dumped with garden rubbish in the past , and in a front garden , the first Daffodils of the year in full flower .


Warren Baker said...

Well done with that Buzzard encounter Greenie, a case of keep turning up and you'll be rewarded - well sometimes anyway, I keep turning up at Barming church and all I see are Greenfinch's and blue fingers!!

Marc Heath said...

As Warren said, you put it in, you get your reward.

ShySongbird said...

Well done on both the Buzzard and Hawfinch Greenie, your effort and patience was rewarded. Lovely photo of the Redwing too. Celandines already, how lovely! Spring can't be too far away :-)