Friday, 27 November 2009

Garden Survey

Have had a couple of days off with a stomach bug, so I had plenty of time to watch the garden for the NOA survey.
Unfortunately visitor numbers remain low-this weeks maximum totals:-
Wood Pigeon 1
Collared Dove 2
Dunnock 2
Robin 1
Blackbird 2
Blue Tit 1
Magpie 1
House Sparrow 8
Goldfinch 2
The Magpie is interesting. I sometimes see one at the bottom of the garden on garage roofs, and they sometimes sit on the house eaves and gutters, but this one (today) is the first I've ever seen come down to the feeders.
Only other observation of note was a fly over Grey Heron.
No Frigate Birds or Black Bellied Storm Petrels yet.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Staying In

The Pacific Diver on the Hayle in Cornwall was a bit tempting, but in view of the weather in the West Country, we decided not to go down yesterday. Good thing too as I was not feeling at all well all day.
Today I decided not to go out. The Norfolk Ornithological Association starts it's Winter Garden Bird Survey today so I thought I'd get off to a good start. Three Sparrows, a Wood Pigeon, and single Blue Tit Robin and Dunnock. The flocks of finches and Sparrows I have been getting have not been seen today.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Amwell Again

News of a putative 'meena' Oriental Turtle Dove at Collieston near Aberdeen yesterday lunch time was a bit of a worry since neither Colin or I were really up for it, since it is about nine hours each way. Possible for a Friday night/Saturday return if we were prepared for it, but not on the spur of the moment trip up and return on Sunday.
Luckily it turned out to be a very late Turtle Dove.
With nothing much to justify an expensive trip, I spent the morning at Amwell. Turned out to be a nice sunny day again, which was a bonus after yesterday's rain and gales. At least the pond is full up now.
There were at least four Egyptian Geese present, though by the time I arrived, only two remained, and they flew off after an hour or so. Snipe numbers building up now, or at least more visible now the water level is increasing. About seven could be seen at times from the watch-point. The female type Stonechat was seen again. I went down to the Water Vole view point just in case the Bittern was showing and possibly also to pick up Redpolls and Siskins that have been seen here. Had the usual calling Cetti's Warbler, and a nice Marsh Tit too. I went off to Hollycross and though I failed to see the Red Crested Pochards, I did get very good views of the Marsh Tit, a pair of Bullfinch, and my first decent flock of Fieldfare of the autumn.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

November update

Have not had a chance to do much birding recently-last weekend was a non starter thanks to a chest infection. About the only thing of note was a late Red Admiral in the garden on the 2nd.
Yesterday I decided to get some fresh air and went down to Amwell. It was one of those lovely sunny late autumnal days that made it a great morning just to be out.
The birding was fairly standard-the usual mix of duck, geese and gulls loafing around. The Pintail were not present, though they had been seen earlier in the week. Two Snipe on the main island were the only waders apart from the inevitable flocks of Lapwing. The thermals eventually got going and several Sparrowhawks, Kestrel and Buzzard took to the air. At one point, all the Lapwing and gulls went up, in a manner suggesting a Peregrine, but we never managed to spot it, and its doubtful if the female Sparrowhawk nearby would have provoked such a reaction.
One female Stonechat was present. So far it seems that there are none wintering at Amwell, but presumably one or two moving around the Lea Valley are visiting from time to time.
I went down to Hollycross with Phil Ball and talked about his holiday to Cape Verde-not the best trip with a broken ankle, but he had a pretty good time. We saw the three female Red Crested Pochard, and he pointed out the phenomenal amount of Plums/gages of varying colours remaining in the trees. A lot of the trees and bushes have lost their leaves now, but in places the colour is still very good.
I was wondering about the lack of Bittern sightings recently, but last night heard that Bill Last had seen one in the afternoon, so it looks like one has finally turned up for the winter.