Friday, 2 February 2007

Bird news

Friday 26 January
  • One redpoll spp. heard flying overhead at the south end of the reserve by the view point to Warren Villas. (Graeme Lyons)
  • At dusk, two woodcock, north to south over the quarry. (Grahame Madge/ Darren Oakley-Martin)
Monday 29 January
  • A single lesser redpoll with 31 chaffinch and nine goldfinch in the paddocks on Stratford Road this lunchtime with a second great spotted woodpecker drumming nearby at the southern end of the reserve. Four gadwall in the ditch at the bottom of the heath were my first here. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • At dusk, another woodcock over the quarry carpark, this one came from the general direction of the gardens and headed west over the quarry. (Steve Blain, Stuart Geeves, Ian Hayward, Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A woodcock in flight across the Sandy-Potton road before dropping into the field on the east of the road just before I turned into the entrance to The Lodge on the way in to work this morning - presumably disturbed from the newly-cleared heath on the reserve. (Mark Ward)
Tuesday 30 January
  • A male blackcap gorging on ivy berries on Stratford Road this lunchtime. As I watched it gave a brief, half-hearted burst of song. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A little egret preening and roosting at Warren Villas this afternoon was visible from the Plateau carpark. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday 31 January
  • The first morning of woodpecker drumming I have noticed - 4 or 5 greater spots heard this morning - 2 drumming and chasing each other near the gate at the bottom of the heath, 1 distantly from beyond pond on the heath, and 1 or 2 from the west along Stratford Road. Several green woodpeckers active along Stratford Road, but not yaffling. (Ian Dickie)
  • Goldcrest bathing in the pool right in front of the hide and two great spotted woodpeckers flitting about. A sparrowhawk landed in brambles to right of hide, dropped down in front of second pool before flying off to back of field. (Helen Brandes)
  • On a reconnaissance visit for Guy's Thursday ringing session at the Borage Field, around 150 fieldfare, 30 redwing, 40 starling, 50 chaffinch and a record count of 55 skylark. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Large (50+) flock of chaffinches in weedy field at bottom of heath at about 1 o'clock- too distant without scope to pick out brambling or anything, but could be worth checking. Also c.40 fieldfare. Spring usher on the western wall of Osprey Building (Nigel Willits)
Thursday 01 February
  • This morning during a ringing session on Sandy Heath, Chris Bowden found a woodlark with the sizeable wintering skylark flock. This is particularly appropriate, given that Chris spent five years studying their breeding ecology on forestry plantations in the Brecks during the 1980s and '90s. Originally picked up on call by Chris, the bird was also seen by Guy Anderson, Dave Buckingham and others towards the eastern side of the heath. The Skylark flock appears to have splintered into smaller groups than the sizeable flock that was present yesterday. (pers. comm. DOM)
  • A single brambling with chaffinch flock at the Borage field this lunchtime (Nigel Willits)
  • Female merlin chasing a skylark was the highlight of a lunchtime walk around the Borage Field. (Darren Oakley-Martin & Mark Ward)
  • Song thrush singing quite loudly at 1.35 pm in the trees above the snowdrop garden below the wall. (Judith Emmerson)
  • 5 Canada geese (first spotted by Ellen) heading low north over the avocet car park this morning from our window. (Mark Ward)
Friday 02 February
  • A much paler spring usher at Osprey porch this morning and a sparrowhawk seen patrolling woodland edge west of Osprey building late morning for 2nd time this week - a regular route perhaps? (Nigel Willits)
  • Four of us spent an hour before work this morning looking for the woodlark on Sandy Heath. Unfortunately we failed to find the Woodlark but there were plenty of birds in the area. Five grey partridges, two bramblings, c.50 Fieldfares, c.15 Skylarks and a handful of Meadow Pipits being the highlights. (Steve Blain/ Katie Fuller/ Mark Gurney/ Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 70 redwings flew low north across the avocet car park outside my window this morning. (Mark Ward)
  • Red kite over gardens, fairly low. (Derek Niemann, Lindsey Smith, Kate Smith et al.)
  • For anyone wishing to look for the woodlark, around lunchtime would appear to be the best time. Again today, the large flock of skylark was feeding in a tight flock in the middle of the borage field, just below the ridge. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in the short time I was on site, but two bramblings were in amongst the chaffinch flock. Early morning seems to have the flock widely dispersed across Sandy Heath. (Darren Oakley-Martin)

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