Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Big Walk

Sunday morning and off as usual for the "Big Walk" round Big Waters with Alan, Ian and Keith.  Must have been a bit nippy for the 3 young uns as they were hatted and gloved but us trained to kill ex servicemen can handle a bit of snow so al fresco it was.  Had a quick walk up to the main hide and back before the others arrived searching for the elusive Bramblings, unfortunately, again they remained elusive.  I did spot Bullfinch, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk on the walk in and the usual suspects in the Feeding Station.  

The newly refurbished Feeding Station a minute or so after a Sprawk Flythru

Back for the walk and all the  birds had gathered in one spot on the pond now with all the gulls hanging around the other bit of open water. At the public end a Kestrel relaxing on the edge of the plantation.

Walking down the track chatting away and everything lifted, eyes scouring the distance looking for a raptor, spotted a Peregrine, but didn't say anything, I let young Alan J take the kudos in spotting it (hmmm, really).  It lazily flew through and like Moses the waves of birds parted in his path.  It eventually alit on top of one of the Electricity Pylons and stayed there for quite a while.   Further on 8 Eyes hunted for a new species for the year, a Pied Wagtail, Feral Pigeon, Redpoll but unfortunately zilch.  Further on the Greylags, 2 Barnacles and 2 Canadas came in to feed in the fields

A Treecreeper was spotted quite close so I managed to snap off a couple of pics of an unusual confiding bird.

Then came the highlight of morning when a "Darvic Ringed" Iluyshin II 76TD flew overhead heading for Manchester at an altidude of 23,500ft.  It had been initially ringed on 5 March 2010 as the 3rd in a batch of 3 Fledglings as Blue on White RA-76952.  Keith had been nervously tracking it for over an hour looking skyward most of the time and when it came out of the Cumulus he was quietly squirming excitedly in his anorak.  20mins later he told us it had been diverted to Prestwick and when you look at the pic I took of it at 23,500 ft you could see it was a fragile looking thing:

But when you look at it landing at Malta shod with more rubber than the forests of Burma 
why did Manchester turn it away

Anyway, Keith took off his anorak and got back into a sensible hobby and joined us in the hide to go though the weekly argument discussion about the number of birds on the lake to try and break patch records see if there has been any movement in species.  30 mins chewing the fat and counting and it was time for the young uns to head home to watch the football whilst this old un headed up to Prestwick Carr where some great views of Short Ears was had and a chat with Big Waters Regular Alan F.  Also managed to see a few Lesser Redpoll and a Willow Tit.

One of several Redpoll feeding on the Thistles

Short Eared Owl at Prestwick

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