Thursday 23 April 2020

Lockdown listing extended

So with the lockdown extended I've continued my local walks...still no car, no camera and no bins in line with intention of daily exercise only but I do have eyes and ears to the lists continue to grow. In the last few days I've added Coot, Mute Swan and today my first Whitethroat of the year so my second year tick in five weeks. Always great to hear these returning migrants in spring.

The garden continues to entertain with several sightings of Sprawk, Buzzard and Red Kite and I'm getting quite a detailed look at the comings and goings of all the breeding birds. Out of the ordinary I had a Greenfinch and a couple of Pied Wagtails in the garden today too.

On the butterfly front I've added Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Holly Blue to the year list today.
Onwards and upwards and stay safe guys.

Year list now 191
Lockdown list now 55

Lockdown makes you appreciate whats on the doorstep a little bit more

Monday 20 April 2020

First year tick in over a month

I had several Swallows yesterday to add to the lockdown list and enjoyed a nice walk again this morning without adding anything new but later this morning whilst chatting to a neighbour from a good distance I noticed a hirundine heading towards me. Thinking it would be a Swallow I carried on chatting but as it neared I could see it was in fact a House Martin so my excitement got the better of me to my neighbours amusement. The bird was not only a lockdown tick but it was my first year tick in over a month of lockdown.

My year list nudged to 190
Lockdown list now 52

My early morning walk  today

Saturday 18 April 2020

Now that was unexpected.

I've been doing my daily walk each morning nice and early to get the legs stretched but I've not added any lockdown ticks for a few days now. I'm seeing more Blackcaps and hearing plenty of Chiffchaffs and probably seeing around thirty species a day with no new additions so it was a little surprising tonight as I stood in the kitchen preparing dinner and two Greylag Geese came flying from east to west low across the rooftops and although these are on my lockdown list and year list they weren't on my actual seen in or from the garden list and they are now! The first in thirty years!!

Lockdown list still 50
Garden list now 65

Monday 13 April 2020

Forget me not

Walking the ditch this morning I found this tiny patch of Forget me not and found myself pausing for a moment at the meaning of those words. Very sad to think of all these families losing loved ones and my thoughts are with them all.

Forget me not
On the birding front I managed my 50th lockdown tick with a Coal Tit and saw a Kingfisher for the first time in a couple of days. It's all very unimportant but it's still good to take advantage of this short walk most days with the sounds perhaps more enjoyable than the sights right now.

Lockdown list now 50

Sunday 12 April 2020

couple of surprise ticks this morning

I haven't been out since Friday trying to keep public movement down over the Easter weekend but after an uncomfortable night with shoulder pain I woke early and decided to take a walk at first light.
I saw just a single dog walker over both legs of my journey and it was good to be out again even if it was only a short walk from home.

As I approached the motorway I was surprised to see four Greylags flying up and over towards the golf course and then as I turned the corner I heard the beautiful sound of a Skylark. It took a while to find it up the cloud but it was really good to connect with it and I really appreciated the encounter.

No Kingfisher again today but I did see five Buzzard, two Sparrowhawks and a Red Kite over the garden this afternoon which was pleasing too.

Lockdown list now 49

Smart cloud cover this morning

Thursday 9 April 2020

Ticking over

A brisk power walk this morning gave me another Lockdown Tick with a Kestrel hovering over the edge of the brown field. No Kingfishers today, in fact not much of anything as I powered my way around the fields apart from the Chiffchaffs calling along most of the route. I did get a Chaffinch in the garden today which although on the list hadn't until today been in the garden.

Lockdown list now 47

Forgive me digging out the old pics but they add a little colour to an otherwise bland post.

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Two additions to the lockdown list

I took an early morning walk today, same route as usual down to the motorway and back but a bit earlier than usual with the benefit that I saw nobody else on the whole walk.

I picked up a lockdown tick when a Jay flew out in front of me at the railway bridge and then found the Kingfisher on exactly the same branch as yesterday. Six Stock Dove came next and lots of Chiffchaff. As I walked back I had a second encounter with a Jay before hearing Blackcap calling. I stood still for a while and sure enough a smart male Blackcap came out and burst into fall song at the top of a bush.

Back in the garden I had a fly over Little Egret and a very low Red Kite.

In additon to the birds I've had a Fox and a small unidentified bat in the garden and my lockdown butterfly count includes Peacock, Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Small and Large White, Comma and Brimstone and they give me a little added interest on the walk for as long as we're allowed a walk.

On another note I enjoyed the big moon last night with nice views of Venus too in the clear sky.

Lockdown list now 46

The big moon

A closer look

Not so pink and not so easy to get a shot of it as it was so bright

The Moon
One of todays Red Kites over the garden....not seen in thirty years living here but this year I'm seeing them every day.

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Somethings never change

I've not been out for a couple of days and although I've been lucky to enjoy some time in the garden with some Buzzards, Red Kite and a Sparrowhawk the highlights this morning I needed to take advantage of my exercise time so plodded off down the stream towards the motorway and back about a two mile round trip which takes me about forty minutes on a leisurely stroll and is good for mind and body. I saw two people today on the walk and  the 2m rule was well observed.

I'm still not taking any glass with me treating it as more of a walk that I may see some birds rather than a walk to look for birds if that makes sense.

Today I saw a Kingfisher sitting on a branch overhanging the small ditch come stream, a couple of Mallards resting on the shingle bank and lots of calling Chiffchaff. A few Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk again flew over with the Buzzards being quite vocal. Seven Parakeets flew over very low and again were very noisy then I had another lockdown tick when a couple of Stock Dove flew up from the brown fields as I approached.

On the short walk through the woods I was surprised to find that the locals had very kindly picked up their dogs poo and their empty Stella cans and put them in a carrier bag which they'd hung from a tree so the council could find them easily and take them away for thoughtful!
Somethings it seems never change.

Not a bad view at the end of the walk
So thoughtful
I'll never understand why anybody thinks this is the way to go.

Lock down list now 44

Saturday 4 April 2020

Pied Wagtail on the lockdown list

No woodland walk today but a nice long day in the garden produced a fly over Pied Wagtail along with a Red Kite, a Sparrowhawk and many Buzzards enjoying the warmer weather. At one time I had a group of four Buzzard together over the garden.

Onwards and upwards.

Lockdown list now 43

No apology...just trying to add a little sparkle to the post with an old image of todays tick

Friday 3 April 2020

Another day another Lockdown walk

My street held another Clap for the NHS last night and it benefited from a little more participation than the last with most of the street out, a few pots being banged and a few fireworks being let off in another show of our appreciation for the commitment and dedication of these fabulous people.
(I have good reason to be thank them as they've saved my life on more than one occasion and only recently got my father in law home safe after testing positive for Covid-19)

With spirits lifted from the last couple of days I set off on my exercise walk this morning and I encountered not one but two Kingfishers sitting on a branch overhanging the little ditch at the bottom of the road. The ditch runs into the Roding so I guess they're nesting up river but come to the shallow ditch for easier prey. In the woods a couple of Treecreepers together was a nice find and I got another Lockdown tick when three Canada Geese flew over.

On arriving home I sat in the garden with a coffee and watched as first a Heron dropped low to inspect my pond then a Sparrowhawk flew over putting up all the Starlings. My bonus for the half hour in the garden was another Lockdown tick when I spotted a Cormorant flying north.

Another enjoyable morning making the most of these strange dark days we're experiencing.
The lockdown list now sits at 42

Pictured bird seen earlier this year 

Thursday 2 April 2020

Naked Birding

To be clear, when I say naked I refer to the lack of Bins, No scope and no camera!

I walked the length of the ditch again today down towards the motorway and this time ventured into the woodland at the end of the path. Taking this as my daily exercise I'm not taking any glass with me (save the iphone) and it feels good to be honest. My senses are enriched as I use my ears more than I have been recently although they remain old and I still cant pick up Goldcrest etc.

Today I spent an hour from leaving home to getting home but managed a very delightful walk full of uplifting bird life.

800 yards from the front door I had another sight of yesterdays Kingfisher followed by a Grey Wagtail feeding on the shingle of the shallow ditch, a bird I was to see again on the way home.
My next Lockdown tick was with a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. The brown fields held a mixed flock of Corvids and as I entered the small woodland I got another lockdown tick when a couple of Chaffinch flew up from the leaf litter. Next came a Mistle Thrush that flew from the floor to the top of a tall Oak then a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen while I looked for a calling Nuthatch. I managed to see the Nuthatch too and then almost as I left the woodland I heard a Treecreeper  and managed to find it and it was added to the count. A delightful hour and it just goes to show what can be seen on a local walk if you're looking to see it.

As I left the woods a Red Kite came down low across the brown field to finish a very productive stroll. Legs and lungs exercised but more importantly so is the mind!

Lock down list now 40 but still waiting to see if I can add a genuine year tick on these local walks.

The woodland path

View across to the adjacent woodland 

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Lockdown expansion

For the first time in a couple of weeks I've ventured out to take advantage of my "exercise walk".
I'm lucky to have a little stream at the end of the road that takes me to some arable land and a small woodland but in all honesty I haven't walked it since my dear old dog left this world back in February 2017.

The area is pretty isolated sandwiched between the railway and the motorway but I bumped into a lady and her child, a couple walking their dog and a guy walking with his young daughter.
They all moved out of the way as did I so really good to see this level of awareness locally. The walk took about forty minutes and really cleared the cobwebs. I have decided to add birds seen on the local walk to my lockdown list in the interest of interest at least while we're entitled to this small level of social freedom.

To this end todays walk gave me four additions with a few singing Chiffchaff in the bushes lining the stream, Pheasants on the farmers field, a Little Egret feeding in the ditch but the star bird was a Kingfisher that I accidentally disturbed from the stream. I'm sure in coming days I'll find this area a pleasing walk and it could well add a few more birds if I explore the woodland area.

Lockdown list now 33

A circular walk around the brown field site through the woodland and right on the door step