Saturday, 24 December 2011

Local Patch Birding

Started out at c.8:00am today for a walk around my local patch to try and add some new species to the local patch list.  The weather helped as the cloud cover 2/3 was relatively thin and there was little prospect of rain, despite the ground being very saturated with the last few days of heavy rainfall.  The wind was also calmer than usual, 1/3 coming from the west.  Yesterdays strong northerly winds did raise my hopes for a hopefully late migrant of course such as a Rough-legged Buzzard or Med. Gull on the fisheries but unfortunately neither occurred.


The first bird after leaving the house was a Green Woodpecker, feeding on the western edge of the Kings Langley Common, before it noticed me and headed for the trees.  There was more activity than usual today with a significant increase in the occurrence of Redwing in Kings Langley Woods as well as a calling Goldcrest, 1 Jay, 1 calling Skylark and another Goldcrest in the Village high street.


I made my way to the lakes directly after leaving the Kings Langley Woods, on the way passing through the Primrose Hill Playing Field, that neighbour the canal and waited in expectation of Siskin to come and feed in the several alder trees that line the western edge of the park.  A single Great Spotted Woodpecker flew past as I waited, however after a little patients several small flocks of Siskin congregated in the alders and soon amounted to 22+ SISKIN.  The Lakes were mainly inhabited by 44+ Black-headed Gulls and 6 ad. win. and 1st win. Common Gulls.  Also of note were 2 Song Thrushes, 2 Pochard, 11 Tufted Ducks, 1 Cormorant, and two local patch ticks, a Little Grebe and 2 Gadwall (1ad., 1ad.).  From the viewing area (a small gap in the hedgerows overlooking the lake) I also saw 10+ more Siskin, however, I did not count this towards the total as they may have been the same birds which I had previously seen.


On my return through Kings Langley Woods 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 1 calling Nuthatch and a prob. calling Siskin were the only birds of note before I reached Barnes Lane.


The first horse field NE of the entrance to Barnes Lane, had attracted douzens of Redwing and even my first Fieldfare of the day, as well as several other species such as Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Chaffinches.  As usual, the fields after the A41 bridge were most productive producing a flock of 7 Yellowhammer, the usual, yet diminishing flock of 40-50 Skylarks (amongst them the usual single Linnet), 1 Kestrel, and another small flock of 6+ Linnet at the western corner of the field near the paint-balling location.


My next plan was to catch up on the local resident Marsh Tits, which I have encountered on two previous occasions in Scattedells Wood.  Unfortunately, once I arrive at the usual spot, the far western extent of the wood, there was no sign of any.  Scattedells Wood seems an ideal location for the 100's of Woodpigeons, but were easily spooked by my presence, perhaps due to their growing fear of man caused by the regular Gunmen frequent the area, will they please find something better to do with their time.  Anyway, a single Buzzard was the closest I got to my anticipation for a Rough-legged but other birds of note were 2 SISKIN and 3 Bullfinches in the dead pine trees.  I was extremely pleased when I heard the distinctive call of a single MARSH TIT, fortunately I can now add this species to my local patch (a list comprising of all bird seen within a mile of my house).  I also obtained some bad sound recording of the Marsh Tit, giving the classic nazzle "PTseew"

a very bad sound recording of the Marsh Tit, calling (+ seen) in the coniferous area of Scatterdells Wood,

The final flurry of bird activity on my outing was a large swathe of Fieldfare that took flight near Chipperfield Road, following a single gunshot, a clear highlight to how many birds usually go unnoticed and how shooting causes widespread disturbance to important species that are trying to feed up for the winter.
(Samuel Perfect)

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