Saturday 11 February 2023

A nice piece of serendipity

A dry day with light SW wind.

I didn't have much time today and I set off late morning, with the intention of just checking the main ponds at Middleton, but decided to check Imperial Road first (MD)
Imperial Rd
There was a lot going on here, nothing unusual, but interesting.
Little Egret 6 on the east side of the road, making these "seen from" the recording area. But at least it shows there are still plenty in the area.
Song Thrush 2 singing, one with a Buzzard's call as part of its repertoire 
Blackbirds 6+
Bullfinch pair at least
Greenfinch 6+
Goldfinch 4
Chaffinch 4
At least 6 each Blue and Great Tits. No Long-Tailed and Coal Tits seem completely absent from the area at the moment.
This clip is a Blue Tit, it's the only Tit I haven't shown a clip of recently. Every UK reader will instantly recognise it, as it one of our commonest birds, found in almost every back garden. But its fine lines and colours are generally overlooked and probably more appreciated by American birders (and we do seem to be getting increasing numbers of American post readers)
Kestrel 1

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I was only going to see if the Pochard was still there, it was. And see if I could locate any Siskin, I couldn't. I was only here 10 minutes and if I hadn't have called in at Imperial way I would have left 30 minutes earlier. I was back at the bottom car park by the main pond and was just about to leave, when I heard a Little Grebe trilling out of sight behind the bushes. So I got my camera ready and made my way to the water's edge.......then, all the gulls suddenly lifted, screaming, I looked up and a raptor was flying across the far side of the pond low towards the west. My camera was ready, so it was a case of shoot first and ask questions later! Turned out it was a
Hen Harrier 1 female/immature 

I was quite pleased with my final pictures at least they confirm the species. But the above shots are zoomed in stills from the clip I took, it was only in my line of sight for a few seconds. This is the clip.
Normally, I would have pursued it to see if it had landed, but I was already late for lunch, so I thanked my luck and headed for home.

Pete and Jean managed a check around high water
Pale-bellied Brent goose 17 flew south past the Near Naze and were relocated on Red Nab.
Shag 1 immature on wooden jetty
Kittiwake 9 still on the pipe in the SW corner of the harbour

Jean managed the first ringing session of the year:
 27 birds caught today at Heysham, 15 new and 12 retraps:

Greenfinch 2 new, 2 retraps including one from 2018
Chaffinch 1 new
Goldfinch 3 new, 2 retraps including one from 2019
Bullfinch 1 retrap from 2019

Great Tit 2 recent retraps
Blue Tit 2 new and 1 retrap from 2020
Long-tailed Tit 3 new, 1 retrap

Blackbird 1 new (female)
Robin 2 new
Dunnock 1 retrap from 2017

Surprise bird - Woodpigeon.