Saturday, 26 January 2013

Winter Wonders In the Sun!

Yesterday, Friday 26th saw me after work driving over to Shuart to see if I could pick up any year ticks as a few species had eluded me so far. I was particularly looking for Yellowhammers of which there have been a few seen in recent days and as this is a scarce bird I wanted to get it on the list as quick as possible. With the snow still covering a large part of the area I soon picked out a flock of Red legged Partridge (92) and by the end of the session I had seen 42. Other birds I noticed were good numbers of Jackdaw (93), 7 Reed Bunting, 1 Kestrel, 3 Common Buzzard, 9 Corn Bunting (94) flew into roost, 2 Goldcrest but no sign of any Yellowhammer unfortunately. This morning I was out of the house at 6.30am where after some rain the weather was forecast to be sunny. I failed to see or hear any Owls and a while later I parked up at Shuart where whilst warming up with a coffee 1 Woodcock flew over the car. The rain started to fall for a while but thankfully it cleared a while later and the promised blue skies appeared. Birds noted around Shuart were 4 Woodcock, 4 Yellowhammer (95) flew over calling, a welcome addition at last, 5 Reed Bunting, c20 Fieldfare, 1 Common Buzzard, 8 Red legged Partridge seen but the thaw had started making them harder to see in the fields and 1 Ring necked Parakeet (96) flew over calling. There were 2 Jay, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Lesser Redpolls (97) landed briefly before moving off quickly and 1 Great spotted Woodpecker was noted. I then moved on to Chambers Wall at 8.30am where I walked up to Coldharbour meeting Chris and Anne Hindle and later Julian Perry where we noted some good birds. Making the notebook were 1 Kestrel, 15 Golden Plover, 35 Redshank, 2 Grey Heron, 9 Grey Plover, c50 Dunlin, c450 Cormorant flying east offshore and 3 red head Smew (98) were seen in the Wantsum briefly before they flew off and landed a bit further away. Scanning where they had landed I saw another bird with them but taking some very distant shots I thought it was a Goldeneye and when Chris returned he called me to confirm that it was indeed a Goldeneye (99), a very good bird on the patch. Moving on I noted 2 Avocet in Coldharbour allowing a few shots, 5 Shoveler offshore with c600 Wigeon, 3 Turnstone, 17 Skylark, 1 Stonechat, 7 Pintail  (100) offshore, 1 Red throated Diver, c400 Brent Geese, 17 Curlew in one flock, 2 Shelduck, 1 Water Rail, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Woodcock and checking likely ditches revealed 2 Snipe and 1 Jack Snipe (101) which I nearly walked on. Walking back to the car I had 1 Greenfinch (102) and as I left I noticed 2 Water Rail feeding in a ditch which allowed me to hang out of the car and grab a few shots in the sun of this normally secretive bird. A great session in nice weather, some quality seen and the year list ticking along nicely.


Water Rail


  1. Cracking Water Rail Marc,
    Looks like the pleasant weather aint gonna last too long!

  2. Beautiful flight shot! The Rail is fantastic!

  3. Marc ,
    102 species in 26 days is a pretty good strike rate I'd say .
    Nice shots in the sunshine .

  4. Marc.
    Wonderful variety of bird species, well done, but the highlight for me must be that you managed to get such great shots of the very secrative Water Rail.