I had a hunch that the cold weather - down to -3 or so last night - might have brought a few birds into town and the surrounding countryside, and so it proved. Two kilometres in I was running along the field at the back of Grange Road, and I flushed out a flock of small birds from the hedgerow on my right. These turned out to be reed buntings, a long way from any water and certainly not where I'd seen any before.
A little further along, a flock of winter thrushes emerged from the taller trees in front of me. They didn't hang around and the light was very poor, but I couldn't spot any white undersides so figured them for redwing, my first of the season.
There were plenty of finches about too, chaffinch in the main.
I slogged through the mud until I reached Hawton Village, where I saw a large flock of birds settle into the tall trees next to the church. Starling again, making a tremendous racket as they had done when I had found them in a different stand of trees nearby. I'm guessing there was perhaps 500 of them, and why they had paused in those particular trees to have screaming match with each other I had no idea. Perhaps they were imparting the latest gossip to each other.
I kept on plodding, steely skies luckily not dropping any rain on me. There is a large field where I've spotted fieldfare before on the Hawton-Farndon road, I knew they's be there today, and I wasn't wrong, with about 100 birds joined by another small flock as I watched, their slate grey rumps being the main identifier as they hopped about on the ground.
Another first for the season!
Eventually I squelched along the river to finish off my ten miles, and came across a huge flock of chaffinch and goldfinch in what will be one of the buttercup meadows in a few months time.
So as ever, the cold brings out the birds. Too bad my camera batteries were flat. Gah.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.01.16
|Hundreds in this tree|
|The fieldfare field|
|Love this graveyard|
|Robin on the river|
|Proper running conditions|
|New bark on the Old Oak Wood path|