1 February 2012

Cold weather movement Part I

Nicely ensconced in bed this morning, it was far too cosy to get up, but the prospect of stuff on the patch with the onset of colder weather began to gnaw at me. However the warmth of the bed was winning until an insistent text from JL saying:

"Masses of Redwings flying around. At home today so well up for a Smew-shaped coffee".


Sluggishly on to the patch for about 08:30, it was pleasant and not too cold. Bandstand Pond was frozen, a Pied Wagtail skating round its margins. Plenty of gulls, a few cormorants: nothing special there.

Then the first solitary Lapwing, crazily made its way across the sky to the west. I texted Lapwing-ophile Lethbridge, who needs them for some duck trophy.

"Lapwing well s of your house"

To which he replied shortly after:

"2 Wigeon on basin. Drakes"
[The School run]


"Which easy have Lapp winds been going?"
Which had me confused for a bit.

"That should have read which direction are lapwings coming from?"
"From west"

I had decided to go the Jubilee/SSSI/BushWood route today as a chance to catch up with the Firecrest, and see if any Snipe/Woodcock had waited to be flushed from the non-boggy boggy bit in the SSSI. Before I got there, I noticed Jordan,one of the wardens, parking up by the broomfields. Chance to tell him of the Mink I saw in the Dell yesterday.

Mine was not the only sighting apparently, and so the traps will be out again in the near future. I asked that they should also include grey squirrels, to which I was informed that there was discussion on that topic too.

While we spoke another flock of 12 Lapwing careered across the sky and looked to land on the fairground. This Jono should know about. Of course they would not be there should he wish to view them unless he was still driving back from school runs.

He wasn't and they didn't.

I left Jordan and carried on back to Jub. By the time I got there another 3 plovers had flolopped across the sky done some circles and finally decided on a direction and headed off.

"Another 3 from s over Jub then turned back" I texted

"Then north overtower blocks"


"Just seen about 6 out of back window"

"They might be on the playing fields near tower blocks"

"Also just had a mipt out of the window"

"Gbb over: this is sensational"

"Did the Lapwing come back down?"

"No, only saw the 3, they went west, 2 came back then SE"

"Maybe my about 6 was 5 then. Exciting day!"

"Not bad at all"

"IF I look out of the window all day rather than do any work I could break my garden day list record"

"Go for it"

"Just had another ten Lapwing distantly west"

By now I was in Bush Wood and not likely to add to any Lapwing sightings, and I was looking for the firecrest. Redwing sang from every bit of holly and ivy, there must have been hundreds in there. A Coal Tit called and even posed for a bit. And even better the wood was quiet and devoid of dogs and humans.

As I hadn't much time I decided to use my app and lure the FCs into acquiescing to being viewed. It worked rather well. The male flashing past in front of me looking in the bush to my right for his rival. The sound now behind him he launched back across the path, nearly taking my head off. Job done I turned the tape off. no harm in a brief bit of cheating as long as its not over done.

Now off to the basin, the wigeon hopefully still in situ ignoring the checked-trousered buffoonery of the golfing traffic. They were (patch year tick, yay!).

Back in the path, I checked out the ornamentals for Smew, but they were frozen over. I checked Perch for Goosander, but they were absent. I scoured Heronry for merganser, but was disappointed again.

"Lapwing west over plain"

"Will look out for it... ... Nope!"

"2 more east heronry"

I needed to hurry. So I went the long way round via the Alex, just in case a Goldeneye had pitched up. Unsurprisingly it hadn't.

"Another 6 (Lapwing) s over tower blocks distant"

Maybe tomorrow there will be a golden lining to the lapwing clouds!

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