Last walk of the winter

As the metrological office has decided that Spring begins tomorrow and today's weather was so spring like we decided for a walk round one of our oldest local patches. I have been doing bird counts and surveys on this patch ever since we moved to the flat over 40 years ago so we know it fairly well by now. It is prone to flooding from the local river Ure but had dried out fairly well with the sun and wind of the last few days. Along one hedge near a mobile home site we had both House and Tree Sparrows taking advantage of the feeders as well as Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Great Tit.Tree Sparrows and Chaffinch are fairly rare on our little patch so it was nice to see them. Along the Green Lane we had Sparrowhawk chasing, and missing, Dunnocks and Long Tailed Tits which were far too agile for the Hawk. After visiting a pond behind the golf course we headed for home along the river which seemed to have changed course a little over the winter and the bank where Sand Martins nest has been washed away, hopefully they will find another nest site this year. A pond not fat from home seemed full of birds today with good number of Teal and Coot, an odd manky Mallard seemed to have returned to join the real Mallard and to top it off we had 2 Little Egrets. A great afternoon out, a bit muddy in places but we  feel so lucky to have these little gems so n ear to home. 

Pete

Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Sounds like an interesting walk Pete with plenty of bird sightings and lovely signs of springtime. Shame about the Sand Martin bank on the river but hopefully they will begin excavating again after they find another site. Hopefully I will be meeting an author/keen bird watcher on the parkland tomorrow as he does a quick survey of the heronry. I imagine the WeBs counts will begin again shortly by the mere but I wish I had your skill combined with Seymouraves to get involved !! All I could count today were two Common Buzzards and 27 tufted ducks - and that was with eagle-eyed Mike's help lol

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • As you say, great to have sites like that locally. There are Tree Sparrows relatively close to me ... but just a little too far at the moment so they'll have to wait a bit longer! I don't know about Spring, it felt more like Summer here. I ended up walking in just a long sleeved t-shirt to be comfortable today and I'm normally quite cold blooded!

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    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    I was not T shirt weather for us Nigel,you know we have it tough up here in't North !!

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • I'm in the North, too, but not the far North East!!

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    Nige   Flickr

  • Sounds a lovely walk Pete with a good number of birds to see and enjoy. The sun got me out with just a fleece today and though I didn't get to see the number of birds you saw it was a good taster for Spring and hopefully good weather to look forward to.

    Lot to learn

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Hazel if you are interested in doing WeBs or breeding bird surveys the BTO do some good training courses to encourage people to take part some are residential in interesting places like Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. Even if people do not one to commit to this I think putting sightings onto the BTO Bird Track system helps to the understanding of our bird population and movement. I'm beginning to sound like a BTO salesman here but I do feel that their work is very important in helping understand our bird population.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Wendy S said:
    I'm beginning to sound like a BTO salesman here but I do feel that their work is very important in helping understand our bird population.

    Lol Pete,  BTO salesman or not many thanks for the info but even with training I don't think either me or my eyes would be good enough to do WeBs counts but I have always contributed weekly to BTO lists, especially when we had our garden and a great number of species and some rarer ones like the Crossbills (which I flagged up to the county recorder too)  and Spot-fly, etc.,    All the data helps enormously as you say to keep a track on numbers/species and the areas they frequent.   I have uploaded pics to BirdTrack too on occasion.     I recently met an interesting chap who wrote a book on this parkland/history/wildlife and he is also a very experienced bird watcher who is also a WeBs counter and he is currently keeping survey on the heronry which we found out on Monday had 7 active nests;    I have agreed to take note of bird species and any wildlife I see around the mere and woodland and note the count (for the waterfowl on the mere) and add anything of interest in the bird hide log.    Now I need the 150 count of mandarin ducks to reappear or the bittern they had back in time !!   We still have mandarins but in the couple of dozen or so at the moment.     I just love birds so happy to potter along and try help where I can despite frustrating eyesight and juggling binoculars, eyeglasses and often camera !   At least we have a lot more time to focus on local birds around us during the lockdown and yesterday I left the camera at home and just walked by the mere and woodland areas where I heard so much more with not having the camera.   I also saw a vole and heard a song thrush in competition with a female Tawny owl   LOL 

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • The juggling bit is one of my reasons for giving up on photography back in the old days of film and having to use a stick some days makes juggling even harder. I'm afraid my best birding days are when I just have binoculars and my notebook. The areas we have been able to access recently have not needed a scope and we are not out for much more than a couple of hours so we can travel light. I often emphasise the importance the need for recording but it is not what some people want to do while out birding.. I'm grounded at the moment as I have to go to the endoscopy unit on Saturday afternoon for a check up procedure and have to self isolate for three days before. I had a corvid swab test yesterday, negative thank goodness, so have to stay in until I got to the hospital. Spending my time typing up part of last years club records for our annual booklet. Even though I retired as club recorder a year ago I still like to help write the report up gives me a chance to see what other members saw. Im writing up Raptors and Corvids so plenty to fill my time in,not reduced to day time telly yet

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Good luck with the endoscopy test and empathise with having to self isolate beforehand - Mike (& I did too) had to self isolate before his op and do the swab test 3 days before, thankfully negative too. Having no camera with you is often a benefit as we can concentrate more on what's around rather than twiddling with settings and missing some golden opportunities. I wonder how much recording has been missing this last year although I know a few WeBs surveys have been done not just here on the parkland mere but in one of the local reserves we haven't visited for the last 12 moths and they have also been carrying out ringing on occasion so some vital data is added thankfully. I have a feeling with less people being around nature/wildlife areas the birds may have done considerably better during breeding season last year but time will tell I suppose when more counts are done. We still have Mike's mini-scope the Celestron so we can always try that in the hide as the mere is pretty large and the waterfowl tend to be at the far reaches. As for daytime telly, apart from the live cricket matches (and England are doing awful in that ! ) we don't bother with it, hate reality and chat shows and to be honest I could live without TV except for the nature channel !!

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Hopefully the colonoscopy is just a check up on the Crohns Disease so not a long job. I have to admit to watching more evening tv recently with some crime dramas and celebrity travelogues, love to criticise them we should be on Gogglebox. We have just had a starling murmuration over the house again, great private show.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can