Sunday, 28 February 2021

Twitch!! Sort of!!

 With reports on the local Facebook group of a Firecrest singing in the Millennium Gardens, Margie and I decided to Twitch it!! I know sad right a Firecrest!!๐Ÿ˜• Still it would be something different!! 

We struggled to get up this morning so was a latish start, while I waited for Margie to get ready๐Ÿ˜I looked out the window and there in all their glory, two Goldfinch on my Teasels!!! Now my Teasels have been much maligned, sworn about (perhaps people shouldn't walk around the garden in bare feet!!) However at last after several years finally we have Goldfinch, not a charm, but Goldfinch none the less. The pictures are not great, dull morning and through the windows but proof positive!! The garden has been doing well lately with Margie having great views of the local male Sprawk on Thursday while I was at work๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜กher pictures were a lot better than my Goldfinch efforts!

Margie's Sprawk

Goldfinch on me Teasel (I know crap pic through glass but I don't care!!๐Ÿ˜)

We set off, some different coloured Crocus coming up in the Garden now, which makes a change, we walked up Marchants Road , I was regretting the decision to leave the scarf off as was much colder than yesterday with a layer of cloud and quite misty. A Pied Wagtail sitting on a roof distracted me from the cold, we entered the Hurst Meadows, I don't generally come over this side of town so was pleasantly surprised by this area, 20+ Meadow pipits on the wire and a very showy Pied Wagtail on the path in front of us!! As we approached the Gardens we had good views of a Kestrel and I made the obvious Star Wars joke which Margie thought was a Hilarious!!๐Ÿ˜‚ I think!!


Rooftop Pied Wagtail 

Posy Female Pied Wag

Meadow Pipits above the Meadow

The Millennium Falcon๐Ÿ˜ƒ Hilarious right?

Blackthorn Blossom

Misty view By Margie

We entered the Millennium Gardens after much wandering around we managed the briefest of views of the Firecrest (No Pic which we had heard singing and which flew over our heads into a thicket not to been seen or heard again) we also had brief views of a Goldcrest, slightly better views of a Nuthatch and plenty of the commoner stuff at this point we heard a Chiffchaff singing in February!!!Which I actually got some pics of!!

Nuthatch through foliage



Blue Tit

Redwing, Greenfinch and Goldfinch


Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

Interesting Stump by Margie

Wren by Margie

Fungus by Margie
As we headed towards College Lane we found a nice area where some Greenfinches were squabbling, a couple of Bullfinches were also present and as we left the path on to College Lane a Leucistic Blackbird was on the path , quite a striking bird!

Showy Greenfinch

This Bullfinch thought he was hidden but he hadn't counted on Vision Expresses finest Lens and Manual Focusing!!!

Blackbird with a White head!  Leucism is not that unusual in Blackbirds but stood out in this one!

We headed up College Lane, lots of common birds, plenty of Goldfinch in the trees!! Nice to see some Primroses as well! As we approached the College Margie spotted a massive raptor that I couldn't ID? Pheonix possibly!!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Obligatory Church Pic



Primrose by Margie

Mystery Raptor by Margie

Primrose by Margie

We followed the Footpath from Malthouse Lane to Danworth Lane, fairly muddy here and not many birds though were some Redwing feeding in the Leaf litter and some Fieldfares and a couple of Herring Gulls in the field beyond!

Herring Gull


Fungus by Margie

Lichen? by Margie

The Sun was fully up now, thanks to a nice breeze it wasn't as hot as yesterday but still glad the scarf was at home!! From Danworth we headed to Langton Lane via the the Turkey Farm ,Tree full of Fieldfares, another showy Wagtail and some time spent at the weir trying for some arty water shots the highlight of this part of the walk!!



My Arty water shot!

Reedmace, still no Penduline Tit!!

Another showy Wagtail

Airplane by Margie

Margie's Water shot

More Arty water by Margie!!

We was flagging now, the birds seem to be tiring as well very quiet along the lane ,although we were escorted most of the length of it by a Kestrel, which was either a silhouette or hiding behind trees so the pictures are average and should of been a lot better considering how close it came!! Also Margie found a Spider, no idea what sort but quite an impressive looking beast if you like that sort of thing!!



Kestrel one of these day's I'm going to get a decent pic of this bugger!!

Spider by Margie

We arrived home one of our Daffs is looking quite good, pretty knackered another 5 mile walk!! A well deserved Sandwich and a slice of yesterdays Chocolate Cream Pie went down well. 


Well earnt Pie

So a successful Twitch as we ticked the bird! Would have liked better a views and a photo op but was only a Firecrest so no drama!!!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€
Another enjoyable yomp with very pleasant company, although groaning at my jokes is not appropriate!! ๐Ÿ˜


Saturday, 27 February 2021

Hot Times in Hurst!!

 Decided on an early start this morning, I had set the Alarm for 7 but was awake  at 6 so hit the road early, Margie staying in bed, been a long week apparently !!  The weather forecast had suggested it would be warm later which is always a bit of a dilemma ,However it's still February and certainly felt a bit nippy so went scarf and woolly hat, and thermal trousers, I left the house in the early light as I went up Orchard Road I got my first glimpse of what was a spectacular moon!! There was also a fairly spectacular amount of Blackbirds at the top of Orchard Road with at least 7 in one small area! Plenty of Chirpy Sparrows as well!

Trying unsuccessfully to Frame it!

This was the actual colour !!


Chirpy Sparrow

One of a Multitude of Blackbirds

At this point I changed my plan ignoring Bullfinch Lane, I continued along Albourne Road with a view to getting a better view of the Moon which I did, however I was distracted by a Buzzard on a pole.

Buzzard on a Pole

Posing a bit!!

At this point I had dreams of award winning pictures of a Buzzard silhouetted by the  magnificent Moon, I slowly moved out into the road (prepared to risk it all for the perfect shot!!) slowly, slowly a few more feet and I would be there, yep you guessed it the git drop off the post and dived down the driveway, denied ๐Ÿ˜ข!!!!!! As I approached the driveway I peered around the hedged the bird was sat on the deck, it spied me and took off carrying something which explained the diving of the post which is fair enough, think if I had the choice of posing for pics or a tasty brekkie it would be brekkie every time!!, Bearing in mind this was still before sunrise and a bit gloomy I wasn't sure what it was carrying  but grabbed a couple of shots!! 
If you are of the Disneyfication of nature persuasion you might wanna skip the next couple of pics!!

Bunny Brekkie

Quite a large prey item for a Buzzard should keep it going for a while!!

A bit further on, I spied a couple of Stock Doves flying around they put on quite a show, not sure if it was courtship or war but they flew around for ages chasing each other, still before the rising of the Sun and they were fairly distant so the pics are a bit noisy! But interesting behaviour to watch!

Stock Dove interaction, love or war!?

More Stock Dove action

So now I followed the footpath along the A23 and crossed the fields towards Bullfinch Lane I was hoping to get to the high ground at the end of the Lane for the Sunrise but was to slow so done me best to capture it through the trees/hedge!!

Sunrise (top tip don't look at the Sun when taking pics!!)

Lovely Golden Sky

Bit of through the hedge action


I was half way across the field now when a small flock of birds flew in and landed on the wires, Meadow Pipits, only problem I'm the wrong side for pics, can I get past them as looking back they will be lit up lovely? I employ the "if I don't look at them they won't see me" tactic which works a treat as the birds sit preening ignore me completely!!Result๐Ÿ˜€!

Even Mipits can be photogenic when lit up by the rising Sun!

I hit Bullfinch Lane, the Dungheap by the farm disappointed again with just a couple of Pheasants and a few Sparrows knocking about!

Female Pheasant in a Golden Sky

Male Pheasant

House Sparrow

Still lovely light

A Song Thrush was giving it large while I was trying, fairly unsuccessfully to get a pic of it, I spotted a Roe Deer sitting calmly beneath a tree, It was behind a gappy hedge but even so seemed remarkably calm with me 30 feet away didn't even stand up!!

Song Thrush

Roe Deer

Flyover Canada Goose

I could now hear the unmistakable sound of Yellowhammer song!! I scanned the hedges and a distant birds stood out, I proceeded up to Yellowhammer Corner which thinking about it is a pretty stupid name as it's a straight bit of path and not a Corner at all! Still as I made up the name and am the only one who uses it I don't suppose it makes that much difference but I think Yellowhammer Alley will be the new name for it !!! Plenty of Skylark song all around but only saw a couple and were very high in the sky so I concentrated on the Yellowhammers, I think the singing was more saying hello to the rising sun rather that any serious attempt at holding territory as it was pretty sporadic and half-hearted but it is still only February!! The Hedges are wide here and the birds always seem to be on the back edge of them which makes focus difficult and I never got particularly close to them, took a lot of pics a couple of which were adequate a few below!!

First distant view

Bit closer

Catching the early morning sun

Least the bright ones in focus


I gave it up and headed towards the patch following the A23 again, Couple of Goldfinch, a Grey Wagtail in the ditch here always just ahead of me, ten minutes I followed it and didn't get a single shot away, can't win em all!! It went upstream and I went through the tunnel under the A23,as I approached the London Road another Yellowhammer was holding forth on the wires, but was all wrong with the sun for pics!! 


Goldfinch on the deck


The First field on the patch was devoid of life, I ignored the muddy glades, turning left at the Crossroads, heading up the hill as the view opened up I could see Skylarks chasing each other all over the field and rising in song flight, Typically when I got to that point of the path everything had gone quiet!!! I scanned and birds were running about but hard to see on the muddy field!!
Below is the same photo cropped and uncropped to show the difficulties involved!!

Hard to spot Skylark


Brief Flight

Moody Robin

Another distant Skylark

I headed up through the Vineyard a few Fieldfares and Redwings, a big flock of Starlings and a couple of Mippits here but very flighty so no pics as I exited the Vineyard I could once again hear Skylarks, a lovely 15 minutes ,blue skies and Skylarks all around in song flight got a few pics (all the usual excuses apply๐Ÿ˜)

Flyby Starling


Sneaked a Church pic 

A lot easier to see on short green grass!!

Headed down the hill to the Church ,nice posy Goldfinch here then through on to the patch again, a Buzzard flew out of a tree right close to the path, immediately followed by another with a 3rd coming in from the right!! Buzzard wars, I settled down to fill me boots as the 3 Buzzards duked it out, unfortunately they hadn't read the script and all 3 noisily flew over the nearest trees and out of sight denied again!!!



Another Buzzards

The patch was a disappointment, a few birds about Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers mainly heard with the occasional glimpse, same with a couple of Jays a small flock of Blue Tits with a couple of Long-tailed Tits with em but that was about it.

Long-tailed Tit

Blue Tit against Blue Sky

Teasel surely at some point this patch is gonna get some Goldfinch !!

It was getting hot now, so difficult decisions to be made, I had already shed me Gloves and me Scarf do I lose the hat? Obviously I'm half Welsh and have been known to suffer 2nd degree burns on 15 minutes exposure to the Sun but it's February!!!!๐Ÿ˜ฒSurely can't do that much damage!! Was a fairly long trudge home with the only highlight a nice lone Redwing! Had walked 5 and a half miles by the time I got home mild heat exhaustion had set in and I'm probably ok for Vitamin D this year!!


Hawthorn in leaf!!

A lovely morning in glorious sunshine, but quite frankly bonkers temperatures, It's February and I'm going to be getting my stylishly sexy sunhats out!! (Margie's looking forward to that!!) Doesn't feel right to be honest, hopefully the weather this year will be kind and all the creatures who are going far too early will get away with it, another Beast from the East at the end of March will cause carnage if birds have got young by then!!
Anyway I've got a homemade Organic Chocolate Cream Pie in the fridge so gonna wind this up!!

Chocolate Cream Pie will it come out of the tin??๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜จ