Saturday, 13 January 2018

Blowing Cobwebs away, Morden Hall Park, 13th January 2018

2018 has started off quite nicely. Wilson's School playing fields has had a steady number of 200-500 gulls everyday for the last week and a half, and on the 10th a Yellow-legged Gull I'm 85% sure it was - flew over my head at 1ish and flew towards Beddington. On the same morning 5 Siskin and a Hawfinch flew onto Roundshaw Downs.

I have had a lot of work to do in the past few weeks and today I needed to go for a walk to 'blow some cobwebs away' and try and free my mind a bit. Since I'm not very fond of spiders I didn't actually blow any cobwebs away, although a troublesome False Widow spider is still living on my windowsill! 
So I went to Morden Hall for a quick hour, and the sun was out. It was a nice surprise to be greeted by a family of 5 GSWs drumming away near the boardwalk, the loudest I'd ever heard them. I was then absolutely ridiculed by Chiffchaff which was singing near the river - something I'd never heard before in January. Yes, I'm not the most experienced birder but I can reassure all readers that it was singing! Either way, 3 Water Rails were heard today all in the same areas as before. One was calling loudly 10m or so diagonally left of the viewing platform. Other than that all was quiet, besides a hunting Kestrel, 2(-1) Wood Mice, 1 Little Egret and a Grey Wagtail.
The marshy side of the reedbeds is looking really good, like a small area of the marsh at WWT Barnes. I reckon, with a bit of effort, a Snipe or even a Jack Snipe could be found in the coming months. 
On the way back we passed Carshalton Ponds, and a Grey Wagtail, c.70 Black-headed Gulls, c. 20 Herring Gulls and a mix of LBBs and Commons made up the rest- with a few left unidentified. 

The camera is still being repaired, and with an old model of a Pentax also in for repairs it may finally be time for an upgrade...

Monday, 8 January 2018

Roundshaw Downs - Weirdo! 8th January 2018

Today was a pretty horrible day. The weather was gloomy, which meant that I had a lovely cross country run in the afternoon. However, it was arguably the first time I wasn't too worried about it; not just because it wasn't actually raining, but also because it's the only time of year that I go to Roundshaw Downs. The only problem is that there were lots of other students and teachers, so I obviously couldn't have binoculars dangling down my neck.
Either way, at 14:30ish we set off and it started off well. c. 30 Redwings, disturbed by a group of raucous runners, set off from some berry trees, as did 15 or so Common Gulls from the fields. My biggest hope was to spook a Woodcock from the long grass - very optimistic, and it obviously never happened. 
However, the highlight was a Firecrest which was calling from a group of Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests. I stopped to admire its bright colours for a few seconds, although from about 15m away. I was then dragged on by an impatient friend. It was unexpected so pleasing, but I still haven't had a good view or got a good picture of one yet. After that it was all quiet, except a single Skylark in the old airfield. Either way, considering it was just a bit of birding whilst running, it was quite good, despite having lots of people shaking their head or saying some nice descriptions like 'Bloody weirdo' as I walked past, which I actually quite like to be honest!

I haven't had the camera for a few weeks now, and I'm starting to get more and more impatient with birding, with the Twite showing even better than before and some Parrot Crossbills showing really well on the Surrey border. Though I've got no chance of seeing the PC's, the Twite, Iceland and Caspian Gulls are the ones I'm really hoping for this winter.
As soon as I'm free in 3 weeks I know where I'll be trying to go, if I get let in of course!
Meanwhile, the garden list has grown again, incredibly reaching its 49th sighting, as a pair of Chaffinch finally came into the 'recording area.' Oddly, though Goshawk and Osprey are on the list, Kestrel and Green Woodpecker aren't.