I took the decision to head over to Barcombe Cross on Sunday morning. Arriving early at 6.30am i didn't have to wait long until it showed on the picnic table which has been kept topped up with seed on a daily basis by visitors. The bird showed on and off whilst i was there and sung regularly. after good views and some dodgy photos i headed home.
A plan was hatched, regardless of your personal views, we were heading to the South West. Both vaccinated and both each with two negative tests under our belts the week before we were off. Leaving early, picking up Martin at 5am, we aimed to be in Exmouth for 8.30am, to tick, the first of our targets, the Northern Mockingbird. It has been a long stayer over lockdown. This worked a treat. We pulled up and headed into the small alley at the rear of the gardens. Only us two, we had the alley entirely to ourselves. This was to change but only increasing by two once the bird showed itself. We were fortunate, the Mockingbird landed on top of a telegraph pole in the alley and stayed for a while, allowing great views and the ability to dig the cameras out. Tick 1. After our fill, we actually were ahead of of our plan. However one vital part was now missing. We were only heading onto target number two if news had been seen. It hadn't. Nothing for the American Herring Gull showing of late i
Me and Paul, have been, over lock down, walking our local pond in the middle of a housing estate. Its been good fun, two minute walk from either one of us and now set up as a Hot Spot on eBird. We've had some twitches and some fly overs. Northern Shoveller saw me running over one morning. Last week i managed a fly over Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. One of those one time moments probably not to be repeated with the bird flying over calling as it went. It truly is the no.1 birding location in the area. 😏 This has been there for probably three days and we've not paid it any attention. However today it caught Pauls eye. Wow, stunning bird. Hybrid Baikal x Eurasian Teal. Its even been twitched now, 4 people over there specifically for it this afternoon. Invaders to our local covid patch. (update, a reglular stream of people. Its proving a popular local bird)
After what seems like an eternity of isolation i managed to pop over to the back end of the Valley during the week to look over the res. Usual suspects however i did manage to year tick the Wigeon for the all important #69. A new, i really dont want to see any humans route, sees me cutting through the trees to get to the new hill at the far end and then allows me to wander in relative peace. The lazey arsed dog walkers dont tend venture this far away from the center, a few do but in the main its dog free compared to the Hornchurch side. This also means that you get less people all together - result. I walked down to the Paddock, hoping for Yellowhammer but this didnt happend and as i tunred to head back, thick black smoke assended into the sky. Holly shit, my car was on fire . No i mean it. The only thing near the smoke signals bellowing into the sky was my motor. I panicked, then laughed, i wanted a new car anyway. I headed back, i started to run, then back to a casual walk, then a fa
We are now as a family in full isolation for a total period of 15 days and not allowed out anywhere. Not becuase we have Covid or are suspected of having but because my wife has to have an operation. She had Covid test earlier this week and we were told to all stay in until the operation date and then again for 10 days after. All makes sense and will happily comply. My gardens pretty cool as Sub urbans gardens go. Birds that have actually used the garden have included Waxwing and Mallard . Goldcrest is almost daily as is Coal Tit . Overs have included some suprises, Whimbrel , last year, was a biggie. Shelduck another a few years back.
Yet again i hit the alarm and turned it off, another weekend gone by where the thought of going really early to the Valley for Tawny Owl was not that appealing. As the mornings start getting lighter earlier this is going to be troublesome unless i wait until later in the year or go late one evenning. I started up by the reservoir, checking this in almost darkness, it was pretty empty. A couple of Great Crested Grebes, Great Cormorant, Coot & Mute Swan. I cut through the road side trees, onto the new hill and made my way round the bend to the path near Bonnets Wood. There was more Skylark activity today, more than i have seen this year so far. Meadow Pipit flitted off as i walked. As i approached Berwick Glades a female Stonechat appeared on the fence line shorltly followed by a male, both birds already heading in the same direction as i. I followed them down to the corner, still pretty dark, so took a quick record shot and moved on to the farm fields. Not having long here, i re