Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Yellowhammer finally makes the 2021 list

In my last post on Saturday I wrote that I hadn't seen the Owls since Tuesday and hadn't yet managed to find a Yellowhammer at Holyfield farm but on Sunday morning I found the Owls still present and again on Monday and I hear they put on a decent show Monday evening too. Today I visited the park and again failed to find the Owls so yet again I'm left wondering if that's them had a good feed before the big leave. Time will tell.

I walk the valley every day and the last couple of days has been no different, a quick check on Gunpowder for the Owls and anything else that may have come or gone then onto Hall marsh, Fishers Green and the surrounding area. Sunday I found a small flock of Redpoll and I've seen Raven, Water rail, Cattle Egret and Great White Egret in the last couple of days too. There's still lots of wintering ducks in the valley most numerous are the Shoveler with Wigeon still also present in good numbers. Goosanders are still on site and although I haven't seen them for a while I'm told both Smew and the female Ring-necked Duck are still around. I've also seen the three White-fronted Geese in the last few days too. Redwing linger but I'm not seeing Fieldfare now.

Today I took a different route after failing to see the Owls at Gunpowder park I walked down to Holyfield Farm where I found a beautiful pair of Yellowhammer singing to each other with another male heard in the distance. A Snipe was odd walking about in the Goose field and a couple of Shelducks were also present. Four pairs of Skylarks took flight whilst I watched the Snipe and a small flock of Linnets were busy around the fringes of the field. A Raven sat on the pylon calling.

Yellowhammer at Holyfield farm

Cattle Egret

Carrion Crow

Crow

The Herons are busy making little Herons

I see the Kingfisher almost daily but always at distance or just a flash as it passes

The gripping stories of birds I've missed due to the travel restrictions continue with news of an Eyebrowed Thrush that recently spent 49 days feeding in a front garden in Kent and on a more local but equally restrictive note I've missed Iceland Gulls at Amwell, Rainham and WANSTEAD this last few days which is obviously nowhere near as rare but the Wanstead bird is only six miles from home so could see me on a local twitch for it. No fewer than six Sea Eagles are drifting around the south and east coast and I'd very much like to be in the right place at the right time for one of these encounters and lastly there's the American Herring Gull at Newlyn in Cornwall that although a few hours from home would as a life tick probably stir the twitch impulse within me under more normal circumstance.

I continue to year list and I'm sure in years to come this account will be of interest to me at least as I recall the impact of the virus on our everyday freedoms. The 2021 year list is now 114.

Linnet

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