Sunday, 27 January 2013

A grand day out!

Decided on some more local birding today, I started out at 9am at Duffield Carrs, Andy Walker arrived just as I was about to set off to the GS hide. It was blowing a gale and had come over very dark and the heavy rain followed. As we arrived in the hide we noted a huge number of swans on the water, mostly whooper, I counted 83 Whooper Swans, 41 Mute Swans and interestingly 1 Black Swan (not a species i've seen before).

                                                           Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

A few minutes later the clouds passed over and we were in glorious sunshine, this seemed to be a feature of the day with short sharp showers. There was a marked increase in Gadwall on the Carrs, with around 6 pairs.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Whoopers rainbow flypast!

As I was scanning the skies for raptors Andy called out about a pair of geese flying low over the reserve, two Tundra Bean Geese flew past and over towards Skipwith, shame they didnt drop in but this was a life tick for me. 
On to Bubwith ings next for a waderfest! I've not been lucky with these in the area so far this year so was nice to finally catch up with some. Here were 9 Redshank, 12 Ruff, 4 Golden Plover, 67 Dunlin and 62 Lapwing. Also present were a few Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Reed Bunting and a big flock of Starling.

                                                           Bubwith Ings - Drenched in sun

I moved on to a nearby site known for its farmland birds but unfortunately it was very quiet, probably because of the high winds but these fieldfare provided a nice photograph.

                                                                Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

 I carried on up the LDV stopping off at Thorganby viewing platform (once I finally found it!). Not a a massive amount about but plenty of Wigeon, Teal & Mallard and 1 Shelduck.

Carrying on up to Wheldrake in search of Willow Tits (another bird i've not seen before), Andy told me he had seen some yesterday at Wheldrake Ings and a Water Rail! Unfortunately I couldnt find any and the river was up again (and you had to wade to get to the bridge!). I returned back to Bank Island and to my surprise a lovely Willow Tit was calling away, I managed to get on it and it flitted from the bushes to the feeders a few times, result! 

                                                        Willow Tit (Poecile montanus)

The Willow Tit is quite similar to the Coal Tit in size, with a black cap which extends down to the neck (there is no white stripe here as on the Coal Tit), and a pronounced black bib. 

There were plenty of birds enjoying the food available including Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock and a big fat brown Rat!! I was joined again by Andy Walker as I was leaving who was going to explore, but it was time for me to go home!

On the way home there were 7 pheasants all feeding together at the side of the road (5 males!) and driving from Skipwith to North Duffield the usual numerous woodpigeon were still feeding in the fields.

A real cracking day out really enjoyed despite the weather being terrible at times. 6 year ticks and 2 life ticks, not bad going at all!

                                                          Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
                                                              Great Tit (Parus major)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andy. Hard to be certain but the willow tit looks a lot like a Marsh tit. Some worrying features for willow, but good for Marsh, are the white blob on upper mandible and small parallel sided moustache. Ironically willow tit are normally the common species at Bank Island.