Saturday, 16 January 2010

White-throated sparrow still present

Added varied thrush to the garden list of the new place this morning!

Didn't get to the estuary until 10am, having dropped Jenny off at work first. Only one group of 3 hunters were on the marsh initially and they didn't really seem to be shooting too much.

First I checked the area where I had found the white-throated sparrow last week and almost immediately the bird came into view. How very considerate. It was feeding with a group of 5 golden-crowned and showed very well but wouldn't keep still or in one place long enough for me to get a pic.

I then headed up the long hedge and noticed a juv northern harrier hunting over the fields.
A juv sharp-shinned hawk was sat in one of the bushes, must to the annoyance of the nearby sparrows. Flickers and a belted kingfisher were along the hawthorns and I soon came across a flock of juncos. This didn't appear to be 'the' flock and only numbered around 20 birds. Checking through, just a couple of song sparrows were with them.
I carried on up the hedge but failed to find the big group.

I noticed an increase in the number of robins this morning, was there a general movement given last night's clear skies?

Again, approximately 50 trumpeter swans were out on the marsh.

Walking back along the hedge I met another hunter coming out to shoot. I think next weekend is the end of the season so things should quieten down a bit after that... or am I being naive?

I went to the platform and I was delighted to spot a short-eared owl flying, intently, across the marsh and on over the river. It certainly wasn't hunting and I imagine had been flushed by the aforementioned hunter.
Up to 11 gadwall were visible among the many American wigeon and pintail out on the water.

I then headed over to Holden Creek just to see what was about. As usual lots of green-winged teal plus the occasional wigeon were present, plus a couple of bufflehead. Good numbers of pine siskin were feeding in some nearby alders(?) and a handful of crossbill were up in the conifers - they stayed put long enough for the above snaps! Again, I noticed plenty of robins around.

Popped by Buttertubs Marsh on my way to collect Jen this afternoon but access was severely restricted due to flooding (again!) - at least at the north end, so the single highlight was an Anna's hummingbird seen within seconds of arrival. Still very little in the way of waterbirds. Is this typical in winter at this site?

On the way home we had a quick walk around Hemer Park as dusk approached. Still 4 trumpeter swans on the pool plus 4 ring-necked duck and several bufflehead, hooded mergansers and a goldeneye.

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