Shockingly Cold Surprises

Old Bridge - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Old Bridge - Manor Farm, Milton Keynes
Today started out like any other overcast,  dull, winters day, and as I headed out onto the patch, with only my macro lens on the camera (an action I later came to regret a long lens and high ISO would have seen me capture a few nice birds) I was not expecting much, the cold wintry feeling day didn't look like it would offer much, little did I know that I was about to have a day full of year ticks as well as, amazingly, two new patch birds (I never expected to get patch ticks in mid January, who would).

Shockingly Cold Surprises

The fist year tick was a calling Nuthatch around the old church (I've yet to see one of these little birds on the patch but I keep hearing them), and then pretty quickly after as I left the church yard I watched as a Common Kestrel swooped through the sky and alighted onto one of the large trees.

Not believing my luck I carried on and as I was passing the old locks a small bird fluttered out onto small plants emerging from a semi frozen flooded area, raising my bins I was surprised to see an over wintering Chiffchaff (if I'd had my big lens I'd have got some cracking shots!)

Teasels by the Old Lock
Teasels by the Old Lock

Moss growing on the old Lock
Moss growing on the old Lock

More Surprises

I carried on along the Ouse passing Manor Farm to my right and I was soon picking out more interesting birds, a single Pochard on the camp-site lakes, a few Meadow Pipits flying past and then while scanning the pits I spotted my first patch tick of the year a stunning Common Shelduck (a species I had seen on my previous time watching the area but wasn't sure I would see this time).

As I continued there were more ducks of various species including my first Shoveler of the year and then suddenly all the Lapwings in the area took to the sky, as birders know when this happens the first thing you do is scan the sky just in case a raptor has put them up and sure enough scanning through the flocks I spotted the un-mistakable shape of a Peregrine Falcon (patch tick number 2) I watched as it harried the lapwing until it was out of site behind trees heading off towards Cosgrove.

Final Two Year Ticks

Passing the Haversham carpark I spotted 5 Little Egrets sat on the grass beside the picnic area, an unusual siting in my opinion. But my final year ticks came in the shape of a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying over the lakes followed by 3 Goosander (1 male, 2 females) resting near the Shelduck on the main pits.

Bricks of Haversham Viaduct
Bricks of Haversham Viaduct

Orange Stems
Orange Stems

Moss Forest
Moss Forest

All in all a great day for birds (if a little cold).

Date: 21/01/2015
Time: 2 Hours 26 Mins
Distance: 4.13 miles

Full Species List

Species Count Comments
Greylag Goose 1
Canada Goose X
Mute Swan 2
Common Shelduck 1
Gadwall X
Eurasian Wigeon X
Mallard X
Northern Shoveler 1
Eurasian Teal X
Common Pochard 1
Tufted Duck X
Goosander 3 2 female 1 male
Great Crested Grebe 2
Great Cormorant 13
Grey Heron 1
Little Egret 7 Including 5 in haversham car park
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Common Moorhen X
Eurasian Coot X
Northern Lapwing X
Black-headed Gull X
Common Gull X
Herring Gull 1
Feral Pigeon X
Common Wood-Pigeon X
Eurasian Collared-Dove 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Common Kestrel 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Common Magpie X
Eurasian Jackdaw X
Rook 1
Carrion Crow X
Great Tit X
Blue Tit X
Long-tailed Tit X
Eurasian Nuthatch 1
Eurasian Treecreeper 1
Eurasian Wren 1
Goldcrest 1
Common Chiffchaff 1
Robin X
Blackbird X
Fieldfare X
Redwing X
Song Thrush X
Mistle Thrush 2
Starling X
Dunnock X
Grey Wagtail 1
Pied Wagtail X
Meadow Pipit 10
Chaffinch 3
Bullfinch 5
Greenfinch 2
Goldfinch X

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