Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Grey days

Yesterday was supposed to be 'Blue Monday' - the gloomiest day of the year. Well, it was certainly gloomy when I arrived on the patch - overcast and misty with drizzly rain setting in. Today wasn't much better but it was my birthday and the day was brightened up with a little bit of sunshine...

On Sunday I did the WeBS count. Not a great variety species on the Budge fields, but plenty of what was there, particularly wigeon and teal with both species numbering over 400. I couldn't see the ruff that has been recently reported.

The big pool was very quiet, a couple of goldeneye and red-breasted mergansers and then I spotted why... two otters were swimming across the pool from east to west. It's ages since I last saw otter on the patch, probably over two years. These two looked the same size and the way that they were playing when they reached the west shore of the pool suggested they were siblings. This might also explain why coot and moorhen aren't on my year list yet.

Coot killers - record shot of the two otters making their way across the big pool.
On the path to the Oddie hide, one of last weeks bullfinches remained and a weasel legged it from one side to the other. 

female bullfinch feeding on dock seeds
Also of note were over 1000 golden plover on the field by the haul road, 30 sanderling, 18 turnstone and 12 ringed plover on the beach and 150 common scoter offshore.

Yesterday was very grey, Janet joined me for a walk through the patch and up to Chibburn mouth to look for the shorelarks as she hadn't seen them. They weren't to be seen (they were reported today) so we walked back along the beach in the mizzle. 

Today was my birthday. I headed out for walk to Chibburn Preceptory and back via High Chibburn and the cottages. The walk was largely uneventful. House sparrow and stock dove were added to the year list at the farm. The highlight came at the end of my walk, just by the cottages, when I found a little flock of yellowhammers with reed bunting in the isolated hawthorn on the roadside. 

Yellowhammer are a very scarce bird on the patch these days, in fact I only saw one in the whole of last year.
A little bit of sunshine to brighten up a grey day
I am doing the Patchwork Challenge again this year - they have a new fancy-dan website, check it out  - http://patchworkchallenge.com/ I am on 71 species and 78 points. 

I've got the rest of the week off work so might get out again between chores...

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