Monday, 18 February 2013

4 Patch Ticks on Sunday

Still sorting out pics and stuff from Saturday so will post something about that later in the week, had to mention that in case Sedgedunum takes the "Huff" that I haven't mentioned him.  Anyway on Sunday I headed for the weekly walk around Big Waters starting early at 07.20 as the sky was blue and as I arrived a few Mute Swans left (they must have heard I was coming), flying directly over my car.  5 male Bullfinches were feeding in the corner near the bridge and from there I also spotted 3 Roe Deer  but as soon as the camera came up they were off.

Then I espied a couple of Goldcrests on the walk to the pond, they are one of those birds that when you go looking for them you can never find them, then the minute you are not looking you get short views of them passing.  Then a white shape came from behind me and I presumed that it was one of the Swans returning then as it dropped onto the pond I realised it was a Whooper (The First Patch Tick of the Year for me).  Quick msg sent to Alan and Keith. 

Methinks that it hasn't travelled far, could it be the one from Killingworth ??

I also spotted a single Pochard on the pond, only the second of the year and the Tufted Duck and Goldeneye numbers had both increased.   The pond was bathed in beautiful sunlight and I actually had to take off a layer of clothing.  The birds sounds and song were coming from everywhere, without a doubt the best aural day of the year so far.  I also saw and listened to a couple of Song Thrushes, spotted a couple of Field Fares moving around, a flock of Long-tailed tits feeding along the trees by the boardwalk through the public end, quite a few goldfinches and a couple of Woodpeckers hammering away.  Then Keith arrived early, didn't want to miss the Whooper in case it flew off after a few minutes like the last one.  Whilst watching it Keith spotted a male Goosander which had appeared from nowhere which a little while later was joined by another which dropped in from a Westerly direction (The Second Patch Tick of the Year for me).

The rest of the crew arrived and Alan informed us of the birds we had missed during the week whilst we were lounging away at work and he was ardously toiling away birding blah blah blah......  Off for a wander round and just as we crossed the bridge we were joined by the Graeme who had us on our toes after a couple of hundred metres by saying he thought he had just seen a Med Gull heading towards the pond but even such a tempting bird did not tempt us to do the short walk cos the weather was so gorgeous and we are so hard than anything under 3 miles is an insult to our fitness (well some of them).  A Redpoll was spotted after much scanning at a place which according to certain people and he reiterates this fact every time we get there that it should be lifting with birds.  Further on the cry went up Oystercatcher and sure enough there it was flying over the pond but it did not stop unfortunately.  (The Third Patch Tick of the Year for me).

  On we went avoiding the Dog Walkers, the numerous cyclists and the largest amount of horses I have seen on the walk for a while (was tempted to put a joke in about the current beef situation here but as I know my readership is of  non Pi**taking stock I refuse to stoop that low - second thoughts check out the JOKES here from an upstanding purveyor of current affairs - The Guardian). 

Further on Alan called a Golden Plover heading directly over us which we all managed to see (The Fourth Patch Tick of the Year for me).

There were Skylarks in/above most of the fields although with Graeme setting the pace on occasions we made it back round to the Hide in record time even after wading through the thick mud which hopefully will be even less next week due to the efforst of our own James Brindleys, Alan and Ian, who have (allegedley) set up canals to take the water away from the paths using the latest equipment.  I will believe it the first week I don't have to spend 20 mins cleaning my footwear on returning home.  The Med Gull, mentioned previously, was conspicuous by its absence although the "it is, it isn't, it could be, it might be" Gull returned and as you look at it flying in it has lovely Yellow Legs but when it plonks itself on the post it only looks a bit yellow, so out come the cameras and more pictures are taken and will be studied in darkened rooms by dedicated birders with microscopes looking at certain primaries for joined up dots (Get a life, go outside and look at the other birds, ITS A SEAGULL (sorry Maria for pinching your copyrighted saying)).  We all sat pleasantly for about an hour waiting for whatever but the whatever didn't arrive but it was worth watching the rest of the pond.  Eventually we drifted away and went for a quick glance at the Dipping Pond and immediately a couple of Redpolls lifted and flew around the trees.

So the moral of today's visit is, "If you spend every day visiting a patch and then you go mob handed on a nice morning at the weekend you will see everything that you found single handed during the week"  Can't wait for next Sunday for Alan to give us a blow by blow account of what he found during the week so we know what we will see on our walk.

Just a couple of pictures from the day or earlier in the week

Pity that I didn't video this the song was tremendous

This may seem strange but on more than a couple of occasions I have noticed that Goldeneye seem to go against the flow of traffic or am I just imagining things

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