03 February 2009

My kind of Sunday...

I had just one aim on Sunday and that was to enjoy another steady morning's birding, with no rushing around. I’d arranged to meet up with my good friend and birding partner, Mike, at 7:30AM and we were to spend the morning at Willington Gravel Pits. Before the more observant of you point out that it is still dark at that time I must add that we were meeting up at the recently opened, and well sited, A50 services. By the time we’d both polished off a full English breakfast, with toast and coffee, it was almost 8:30AM and light enough to start birding. Perfect planning!

Just like the day before, the wind was blowing and it was cold, very cold. With the wind chill I guess it must have been around -5°c or -6°c. Undeterred, we set off down the lane towards the viewing platforms. It was never going to be a day for seeing large numbers of birds, due to the cold and the wind, but I did record a reasonable 16 species in the trees and hedges that line the lane. The most productive area was around the first platform and the small feeding table close by. Here, Goldcrest, Willow Tit (a new bird for my “10-Mile List”), Great Tit and Blue Tit, Reed Bunting, Greenfinch and Goldfinch entertained us for a while before we continued to the end of the lane and platform 3.

Out on the water the amount of birds and the number of species to be seen had clearly been affected by the weather - just 16 species and, if I’d wanted to, few enough birds to do a full count. Notable sightings out on Gull Pit included Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Goldeneye and Goosander. Around 100 Lapwing were roosting on the small spit in the middle of Gull Pit and a further 200 or so were seen in flight. A Water Rail was skulking around in the reed bed close by, but once again it was a case of “heard only”. Realising that I’d just spent time counting the 22 Cormorant on the Gull Pit spit I decided that I must have been starting to get a little bored! Time to move on!

The walk around to Canal Scrape - just under 1½ miles - provided nothing new in the way of birds apart from a single Kestrel but it certainly helped to get the circulation going again; I even started to get a little feeling back in my fingers! The Canal Scrape or lake as it is at the moment, held pretty much the same species as Gull Pit - Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Goldeneye and Goosander with the added bonus of 4 Pintail. Species number 83 for my “10-Mile List” was located when a Green Sandpiper took flight from a flooded field by the canal - not the best of views but a tick none the less.

A Common Buzzard perched on the edge of the reed beds, as we walked back to the lane, was the final bird we added to the morning’s list and gave us a total of 39 species. The number of birds seen was okay, I added two new species to my zone list, the morning was spent in the company of a good friend and maybe more importantly, the day started off with a full English breakfast. There will be more days like this in the coming months. Of that I am certain!

1 comment:

  1. Good, honest, back-to-basics birding. Just up my street!