Friendly competition

I had a pleasant walk around my patch (and beyond, more on that in a bit) today with a very good friend of mine, Simon, we have birded together for many years, twitching, holidaying and setting day list records in the county (even if last year they equalled the record without me!!), but until recently (well this time last year when I moved to my current home and started birding lodge lake) we have never worked the same local patch. We now do, and you know what that means? Yup that's right competition time!! 2014 I shall be competing against him to see who can get the most bird species in the year around that patch.

Lodge Lake, with mist, early morning
Sunny, cold morning on the lake
What does this mean, well apart from meaning I will be motivated to get out and about a bit more, it means the patch area will be redefined a bit (I'll update the map soon with the extra area from 2014 onwards), actually redefined is an understatement, it will be extended quite a bit. This is great news for me as it adds in some areas I would never have gone too that have Jack snipe and potential for other really exciting birds (Gadwall have been seen there as have a few other waders!!). I'll not be adding records from the extended area until next year, but hopefully it will increase my list a bit.

Early morning mist
Early morning mist

Sunny outlook
Sunny outlook
Anyway on to today's birding, on a crisp, frosty but very bright morning in mid November you will be able to imagine that it was cold out, but only really in the shade, out in the sun it was quite pleasant, as was the birding, I started with some good numbers of Wood Pigeon moving over in various flocks (I failed to take my note book so can only guess at full numbers but well over 100 through the morning), as well as single Redpoll, 2 Linnet and a flock of 46 Fieldfare (I saw a few other flocks as the time moved on).

There were few other birds of note around the lake but a short stroll up the river (and meeting my friend) we wandered into Bradwell Abbey to an area that looks great for warblers in the summer, I've not seen much there and Simon informed me he had only seen blackcap, as he uttered these words a male Blackcap popped his head up and was soon joined by another male, it is always nice to see over wintering chaps like these. A single fly over Skylark, excited my friend (Not sure why I have heard and seen quite a few this autumn, but they can be hard to come by).

Dam Mallard - Mallard sat on dam wall
Dam Mallard

Paddling coot - Coot stood on dam wall
Paddling coot
From here on in I was onto new territory and the extension of the patch, down to the flood plains of Bancroft, and these look wonderful, they often hold Jack Snipe in the winter months (although none today) and are one of the few local sites that still do, but they look superb for teal or other dabbling ducks (I'm hoping for Garganey next spring) and look ideal for passing waders (there are reports of Curlew/whimbrel from a local non birder and a black and white winged wader, I guess lapwing?), there were also plenty of thrushes over as well as Greenfinch which are pretty uncommon on my normal patch area. The area also looks like it will hold good hawker numbers, and is over the road from an area good for Hornet Moth (a species I really want to see).

A view over the reeds, into the sun
View over reed
The rest of the birding wasn't wonderful, a few Redwings, a Little Egret and a couple of tit flocks, but not much else of note apart from large numbers of continental Blackbirds. I'm starting to look forward to the new extension and the possibilities they hold next spring.

Anyway enjoy the photos from today.

Back-lit field
Back-lit field

River Trees
River Trees (You can just see Simon on the path)

Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can.

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  1. Gorgeous photos! I can't imagine having such a lovely 'patch'... enjoy :) x


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