Monday, 5 February 2007

Birding update

Two days of glorious weekend weather meant a lot of birding. In fact, it was a good demonstration of the kind of birding I like (and just as well, because it’s what I get most of the time) – namely, fairly common birds, but seen well, with nothing to hurry for.
It kicked off with a magnificent Mistle Thrush in the car-park at Trent Bridge (I was there helping out with some coaching as part of my UKCC2 course), and was followed by a fine male Sparrowhawk sitting in a tree at the bottom of my parents’ garden.
When I actually got round to going out looking for birds, I started with a load of relatively newly-planted forest on old colliery workings at Donisthorpe, near Ashby. There were a lot of Bullfinches and Nuthatches, some mixed tit flocks, and a Green Woodpecker laughing at his own joke somewhere out of sight. One of the pleasures of such a site, though, is seeing how it develops over time. My most regular haunt is probably Sence Valley Forest Park. Ten years ago, it was an opencast pit, but it now boasts a fine range of species, and you can walk there among dozens of Skylarks on a summer evening and forget that it looked like the surface of the moon so recently.
I ended up at Willington Gravel Pits. As usual, there were loads of Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Canada Geese, Wigeons, Teals, Pochards, Goldeneyes and Lapwings, and a little huddle of Redshanks was a nice bonus for the patch list, but it was the chance to see everything in such good light that was fun. And just to round things off, a Tawny Owl hooted from the bottom of my garden all night.

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