7 March 2011

Yellowhammer on the Flats

Spent all day out today, starting on the Flats, finishing in the Park. To quickly pick up from yesterday, the news is that we had a Stonechat. No sign today at all, even though I gave it some time, so the presumption is that it is a bird moving through. This makes the most sense, a wintering bird would have turned up in, well, winter, and much as I'd like to see them breed here, I doubt it will happen.

Hot news instead was of a Yellowhammer near the Cat & Dog pond early this morning. By the time I turned up after the school run I hadn't much hope, but remarkably as I approached I could hear the distinctive "chirp chirp" call from somewhere ahead. Try as I might, I just couldn't see the bird though. Turns out it was in the the long grass, rather than perched up anywhere, so I inadvertently flushed it whilst heading towards a distant hawthorn. A male, possibly adult, though it didn't seem especially bright. The bird was extremely flighty, and after trying to get close enough for a decent shot several times, I was forced to give up. An excellent bird for this area, presumably moving through just like the Stonechat.

I spent the rest of the morning on the Flats, mainly the western section, though the birding was tough. Best of the bunch were a couple of Redwing in Long Wood, some Redpolls in the SSSI, and a Coal Tit near Centre Road. The hoped-for Buzzard did not drift over, and so after lunch I moved to the Park. This was even quieter than the Flats, and I couldn't find Lesser Spotted Woodpecker or the Water Rail. Nonetheless very pleasant, and it felt very much like spring, with Long-tailed Tits flying about with nesting material, and some Coots already sitting.

Not long to go 'til Wheatears....

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