Sunday, 2 February 2020

Another wintering migrant

Ring Ouzel
With this mild winter we're experiencing a few migrating birds have decided to stay here instead of making the long return migration and who can blame them. We've had Turtle Dove and Swallow already in January and today we connected with the Ring Ouzel that's wintered on Pitstone Hill Buckinghamshire. We arrived early and found the bird before we'd left the car park sitting up on a bush before it dropped to feed on the slopes of the hill. We were joined by Matt M. and for the next hour or so we enjoyed decent views although the bird was a bit unsettled and never came close.

Pistone Hill

The Ring Ouzel at Pitstone Hill

With some local intel gained from Matt we set off to add a few more year ticks. First we stopped at Stockers Lake in Rickmansworth and found a single Red-crested Pochard sitting in deep cover out by the Heron nest.

Distant Red-crested Pochard
We were now only four miles from Cassiobury Park so headed that way and again quickly located a Little Owl sat right of the top of one of the old Oaks just outside the car park. It was high up in poor light but I managed a record shot and helped a local family get their first views of it. It's always nice to see people appreciate the wildlife around them and equally nice to be able to help.
Congratulations Claire!

distant record shot of our first Little Owl of 2020
On the way home we stopped at Tyttenhanger farm and after a long walk around the lake we found the back of Lawsons and the feeding station that's been put up to support the local Tree Sparrows. After a while I could hear the Sparrows deep in the hedge line. After a while they came out to the top of the hedge before taking flight. Only one was seen to use the feeder.

The feeding station
So a decent day with another four year ticks putting me top of the tree on Bubo with LGRE until he gets back from his round Britain tour. (And yes I have discounted the two teams listing this year)  I expect I'll struggle to get to 300 this year so I'm sure there will be a few above me come the year end and good luck to anybody that gets above that landmark. My best ever Feb total is 180 so nine required to equal that but it's not going to be easy to find that nine locally so I may well be travelling a bit more this month.  I did say (to myself) I wouldn't chase a big list this year but in truth I love the fact that it gets me out there finding these wonderful birds year after year.

Onwards and Upwards

Year list now 171

Now where's that Black-tailed Gull?

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