Saturday, 19 January 2013

Winter Thrushes

Thankfully (or if you're my daughters, disappointingly) there was no more snow overnight despite the forecast. With lots of thrush activity in the garden I decided go for a trudge through the snow and do another round of my Winter Thrushes Survey. The hot spot turned out to be the garden. All the food we're putting out had drawn in at least 10 Blackbirds and one or possibly 2 Song Thrushes, and 4 handsome Fieldfares were feeding in our cotoneaster, probably the only bush with good numbers of berries on it in the local area. Here's one of them:

Away from the shelter of the garden it felt very bleak with a brisk, icy south-easterly wind. The treacherous roads were largely deserted. Here's a typically snowy scene.

The black marks in the bank just to the left of the church show where someone carried straight on in their car. There were few thrushes on the arable 'uplands' but a surprise was a flock of about 50 Skylarks feeding in a rape field. Three Hares seemed to think it was March and were chasing each other around another field, two Snipe flushed from a small patch of unfrozen ground and a mixed flock of Red-legged and Grey Partridge flushed and disappeared in to a crop of sugar beet.

Some of you may recognise the above gate way if you came to see the River Warbler although it's looking very different from a warm, green July evening. The walk out on to the marshes was bleaker still

Some of the dykes were still unfrozen but hoped-for Water Rails had failed to take advantage of them. A single Song Thrush, however, had found them to its liking as did a single Fieldfare. Three Common Buzzards circled together over one of the alder woods bordering the marshes and there was a small flock of Meadow Pipits.
Back in the warmth of the house, 3 Reed Buntings graced the patio feeders. Despite the garden opening straight on to the marsh, the Reed Buntings only found the feeders last year but once discovered seem to have taken to them enthusiastically particularly now the weather has turned cold. I wonder if anything new will make the same discovery?

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