Unexpected Surprises

Unexpected Surprises


Light mist puddled in dips and hollows of the sheep fields, while the skies above were a crystal clear blue, heavy dew and a very mild frost, only noticeable in the shadows of trees and hedges coated the long blades of grass, as I passed the old church, and crossed the sheep fields towards the old lock. In a natural frame of blackthorn sat a Little Owl sunning itself in the early morning brilliance, the day had kicked off as a great day on the patch, any day that involves an owl is always good in my eyes.

Little Owl in a Natural Frame
Little Owl in a Natural Frame

Wanderings


The sun was warming my back, while the bitterness of an October morning was freezing my hands as I wandered the patch, the sheltered areas of the old lock providing warmth for me, but lacking in birds, a few Goldfinch and an over flying Jay the stand out birds. The open expanses of the wild flower meadow in contrast were alive with birds, and bathed in sunshine, meadow pipits and Reed Buntings, flew in and out of the scrubby weeds, while Grey Heron and various Corvids flew in the air above, but it proved too cold to stand around in for long.

Jay in Flight
Jay in Flight

Goldfinch
Goldfinch


The Floodplain Forest Nature reserve was quite, a low mist clinging to the water longer than it was surviving in the nearby fields, but little lurked in the shroud it provided. Fewer Little Egrets than on recent visits, the odd Mute Swan and a number of Teal all that could be found on the main pits. 

Little Egret in Mist
Little Egret in Mist

Disturbance


The Stilt pits proved to be emptier than I have seen them, sadly, more parks work is ongoing there, mowing of the edges of the reserve by the river foot path (something I just can't understand, why cut the edges that provide a deterrent to passing dogs, opening the lakes to their presence, yet the areas that would help passing birds, like the once muddy islands, are left to grow wild?), all the local Wigeon and Teal were regularly being flushed into the air, and many headed off high. Notable exceptions were single Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper and 4 Little Grebe.

Grey Heron on Stilt Pits
Grey Heron on Stilt Pits

Pied Wagtails squabbling
Pied Wagtails squabbling

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail


Heading back home, I stopped briefly to watch the masses of duck as they flew in panic around the lakes, looking for a safe spot to land once more, the Wigeon and Teal joined by Mallard, Gadwall and Shoveler as well as a few Common Snipe.

Wigeon Flock in flight
Wigeon Flock in flight

Shoveler in Flight
Shoveler in Flight

Wigeon in Flight
Wigeon in Flight


Unexpected Surprises


My day nearly done, I headed home, but as I passed through the old church yard I heard a call above me and looking up spotted a large finch flying over, it called several more times as it flew and I watched as the unmistakable image of a Common Crossbill, my first patch tick in a while passed over head, a very Unexpected Surprise! Finally walking home a Coal Tit flew through, ending my day off with a classy patch bird, just as it had started.

Other Photos


Young Moorhen
Young Moorhen

Wigeon in Flight
Wigeon in Flight

Wigeon in Flight
Wigeon in Flight

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

Dew covered Spiders Web
Dew covered Spiders Web

Magpie in Flight
Magpie in Flight

Final Wigeon in Flight
Final Wigeon in Flight

Grey Heron flight silhouette
Grey Heron flight silhouette 


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