Friday, February 15, 2008


What a great day's birding. Before work I called in at Thornhaugh Quarry to survey the snipe there and recorded 12 Common and 4 Jack Snipe while a Red Kite cruised over low and I heard my first singing Yellowhammer of the year.

At lunch I decided to have another look for the Firecrest that had been seen on private land near Baston. John Saunders had found this on the 6th of February but, although he'd seen it a couple of times since, it was proving impossible to locate from public areas. Last time I went up there to talk to John about it I noticed the Cow Pasture area was attracting good numbers of birds generally so I didn't mind going for what looked like a long shot.

Approaching from the west along a footpath starting outside the PBC area, I was soon back back over the border and enjoying loads of birds: 80 Pied Wagtails and masses of Black-headed Gulls were enjoying the ploughing and a Merlin powered through putting up 250 Golden Plover and a bigger flock of Lapwing. I soon reached a little block of young mixed woodland that wasn't on the map. The corner of the field had been recently planted with a range of native trees including pine, larch and alder. It looked superb for Firecrest. I soon located a Goldcrest and there were a couple of Siskin with a small number of Goldfinches but it wasn't until I found a few Long-tailed Tits that I heard what I was sure was a Firecrest singing. A few minutes later and I was listening to it call, but I could only see Goldcrests. It took another couple of minutes before the corking male Firecrest popped out a couple of metres away from me at head height.

I soon lost it again but those few seconds were magic. Only my second locally, and it was just inside our recording area.

That evening I decided to call in at Ferry Meadows reserve. As darkness fell the 30 or so Snipe gathered around flew off a few at a time calling as they left in different directions and a few Woodcock appeared.

Not bad for a working day!

Night falls over Ferry Meadows Reserve

Canon A640

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