Sunday, 6 February 2011

Hen Harrier and Mealy Redpoll

Had a nice week in the Garden with the return of the Great Spotted Woodpecker and the pair of Siskins now becoming regular visitors.  Also several Blackbirds appearing especially very early morning.

Saturday and off to Big Waters and on the way in put up 3 Pheasants from next to the Boardwalk who I think in turn put up the Woodcock.  Thats 3 I have seen this year so far yet only 1 Snipe has been seen.   A  flock of 50-60 Siskins was once again flying around.  Inside the hide all was well with Willy and Malcolm already in attendance clicking away quite merrily and Keith B followed me in a minute later.  After a couple of minutes of  "Hows Things" we got down to looking at the Birds and the first thing I noticed was that a  few more Reed Buntings than normal were flitting around.

Half a dozen gorgeous Long Tailed Tits were in and out of the Feeding Station on at least 4 occasions and eventually managed to snap one sitting still for more than 3 seconds. 

Siskins outnumbered all the other birds present as the Tree Sparrows were conspicous by the small numbers present.

Graeme B turned up and after a scan around went out to look for Red Polls and returned after about 10mins to tell us that 4 were feeding on the boardwalk.  Keith and I went out to join him and sure enough after 5 mins 4 were spotted and 1 of them confirmed as a Mealy.  Too far for pics though.  Big shouts to Graeme who always seems to turn something up for me.  Otters were seen on 3 occasions with 2 together at one stage in the pond and on the North side.  Out on the Pond was quite a mixture with 14 Goldeneye, 2 Coot, 200+ Teal, Lots of Mallards, 30 Greylag with 2 Pinkfeet, quite a few Wigeon (forgot to write down Alan Js counts), 31 Lapwings, 4 Cormorants and the largest flock of Gulls I have seen for a while.

Alan and Graeme left the hide to do a bit of and I spotted down at the far end of the pond what I thought was a Buzzard flying low over the waters edge, pointed it out to Keith as I went to pick up and my bins and within a couple of seconds he was shouting Hen Harrier.  It flew right up the North Side then back down and across the pond with birds going up everywhere.  Went out to tell Alan and Graeme and they were rushing back to tell us as they had seen it . 

I then went up to Prestwick Carrs to see if I could see the Hen Harrier again but after watching a lovely flock of Yellowhammers flying around for 20mins I bumped into another birder who told me it had just flew over and dissappeared Northwards.

Finally the pic below was meant to go higher up the page but I find it so bloody difficult to move pics when I have forgot to put them in before I start typing I just left it at the bottom.  For Carole all those who cant recognise them they are Siskins.  :)

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