Saturday, 18 December 2010

Chaffin freezin

It certainly was for this chap and gave me a one off shot of Chiffchaff on ice! Prestwick Carr has had wintering Chiffchaffs for at least the last three years but I'm amazed after the conflagration earlier in the year that this bird did not review its policy and follow its mates to warmer climes. Just think he could be freezing in Iberia rather Siberia.

The bird didn't seem unduly concerned and was feeding quite actively on tree bark and picking bits off the surface of the ice. Fortunately there has been no rain and the bark is still largely unfrozen as are some areas in the drainage ditches so food and water seem to still be available. This Goldcrest certainly seemed to be finding stuff as it moved along the hedgerow with a tribe of 14 Long tailed Tits.

Managed to get up the range track although it was hard work as the flood had been churned up by the range Land Rover and had re-frozen so some bits were very solid and bumpy whereas others were paper thin so I ended up with wet feet in the end. As I waddled along I heard a Skylark overhead and looked up to see it performing a dance with what I think was a Peregrine. The Skylark seemed to be running rings round the larger bird but they disappeared up into the gloom before I could get focus.

Another unusual bird for this time of year is a small flock of six Curlew in the horse paddocks. Very common during breeding they don't normally winter so these are probably birds forced down from upland habitat by the weather. Hopefully they'll be joined by a Short eared Owl or two.

Of the 41 species recorded Blackbird and Redwing were in good numbers the reverse of previous weeks when Fieldfare would outnumber them both. A good few Song Thrush also but not so many Robins or Wrens who have perhaps moved nearer habitation for warmth and food. Mrs Woody looked on as Mr grubbed about on the fenceline near the new viewpoint.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating, Peter. I had no idea that Chiffchaffs were overwintering this far north. That's a lovely view of a Goldcrest too - I would have enjoyed seeing that.