Many buzzards today, much warmer weather but no cranes, however I did see what appeared to be swans flying backwards….! Some distance away two birds very white, with trailing long legs and necks shorter than cranes. Two bird flying together I can only think these might be early male storks…not a definite sighting though.
In general it’s warming up but there was a pretty harsh frost last night so was surprised to see and hear a solitary crane on my ride this morning. Plenty of Siskins, Goldfinches and fieldfares today too and right at the end a White Tailed Eagle flew over the road.
After getting back into riding immediately after New Year’s celebrations we had over 2 weeks of “mild” weather (-2 to 6c) meaning I got plenty of riding in, then around the end of January temperatures plummeted for around 3 weeks with it rarely going above minus 6 during the day and as low as minus 19 at night…..despite having fitted studded tyres to my bike I decided not to ride!
Now it’s warming up again and my first ride since the freeze today, and I spotted the first Lesser Spotted Eagle of the year and got within 5m metres of this buzzard who appeared to be sleeping with his eyes open!
According to this week’s BBC Earthflight programme Cranes spend the winter in Africa. Someone forgot to tell these three, spotted today in fields that often have hundreds present in Spring and Autumn….they weren’t the only ones around either, after this sighting I heard calls from others over the next 15km riding home…..didn’t spot them though.
Their sudden appearance is interesting, but given that last night was the first real frost we’ve had for nearly two months I think it’s possible that they have come down form the North during the colder weather….
Among the (quite literally) hundreds of coots that seem to be congregating at this endof the lake (sheltering form the prevailing winds?) seen today were good numbers of pochard, tufted ducks and Goldeneye close to the harbour with the nervous Goosanders much further out.
A short ride today and near the end I spotted what I intitially thought was a gull of some kind….looking very white in the winter sun, it’s black wing tips and frequent dives into the short grass field made me soon realise it was male Hen Harrier, very active and close to town too.
Last winter’s extreme weather seemed to bring many birds closer to human habitation or forced them to break cover and fly more…one of the first birds I saw on arrival here was a flying Bittern!
This year birds of prey seen close to roads and town have been rarer, the soil is not frozen, and times are relatively good I guess. However as always there are many buzzards to be seen, and occasionally rough-legged buzzards, distinguishable by their white tail patch (seen from underneath) and their frequent hovering.
Also large flocks of Goosander on the lakes over the last couple of months….and plenty more today
As I’ve been unable to update this site for the last few months, I thought I’d list some of the birds I’ve seen since last update that I haven’t previously mentioned here:
Merlin, Black Woodpecker, Raven, Rook, Carrion Crow, Wryneck, Nuthatch, Wigeon, Goshawk, Grey Partridge, Moor-hen (surprisingly rare in this area), cuckoo, wren, Redstart, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Long Tailed tit, Red- backed shrike.
Posted in Black Redstart, Black Woodpecker, Carrion Crow, Cuckoo, Goshawk, Grey Partridge, Long Tailed Tit, Merlin, Moorhen, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Pied Flycatcher, Raven, Red Backed Shrike, Rook, Slow Worm, Wigeon, Wild Cat, Wren, Wryneck
Was unable to keep the site updated over most of the second half of 2011 due to work and change of personal circumstances, but I’m hoping to get a lot more riding in in 2012 and hope to have the time to note my sightings here.
This winter has so far been completely different to last years below freezing temperatures, thicj sno and frozen lakes and rivers, with hardly any days (or even nights) with below zero temperatures….there has been a lot of rain and wind however!
During late winter and Spring last year I worked out that I would see a white-tailed eagle for every four hours of bike riding, things started well today with a clear and clsoe sighting of two mature adults standing in field together. I’ve frequently seen two eagles soaring in close proximity, but never on the ground together, there appeared to be no prey or carrion in site.
For the last two weeks, just before Sunset thousands, I really mean thousands of Cranes fly right over my appartment. They fly in “V” groups of anything between 5 and 6 birds to around 30, I reckon over 50 “V”‘s fly over the town. They are heading North, obviuosly at this time of year the migration route is South so I think these guys are just heading for safe roosts in the marshes, reed beds and peninsulas of the lakes.