Friday, March 6, 2015

Hit and Miss

A first trip out of London in the company of The Prof and The Partridge had us heading northbound toward The Fens and to The Brecks for vagrants and specialties and whatever we could find.  First stop was Fen Drayton in search of a Glossy Ibis that drew a complete blank despite a frenetic search around its favoured location.  Stopping briefly, two birders pointed us in the direction of a Barn Owl. It was 10am and this elegant bird was doing a day shift, perched along the fenceline and then seen on a brief hunting sortie over the nearby marsh.

We pressed on towards the Ouse Washes in search of Crane, but there was no sign of them either which maintained our hundred per cent success rate on not having seen our targets.

However, by this time, Whooper Swan had also been added to the day list, as well as double-digit numbers of Common Buzzard, flocks of Lapwing, three Common Snipe, and plenty of Goldeneye on the lakes.

Our lack of a score was up there with Villa's ineptitude in front of goal this season, but so much like the Villa, this wasn't for the lack of trying.  And like Villa in the last week, we scored, with a Goshawk, well a couple actually.  Standing on a traditional Breck-land location, a distant Gos was picked up on a piercing cool breeze.  The boys had sightings that I missed, but eventually connected on a bird that soared along the treeline until my eyes grew tired and I could look no more.

Then another bird emerged from the forest, much closer this time, and was followed as it flew toward us and over the road where we were standing.  Nice view.  A presumed female, less well marked but an impressive sight.

We moved on, just down the road and stopping at the sight of a Yellowhammer, and serendipitously connecting with two Woodlark as they fed in a pig field.

Then there weren't Willow Tits.

So onto Lynford Arboretum.  What a treat.  At least four Hawfinch fed on the woodland four showing extremely well with at least three Brambling including a male that was sporting a near black hood.  A Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, and male Yellowhammer were present as well as numerous Siskin feeding on the pines.  The Hawfinch stole the show for me, three were stunning male birds and were full of character as they searched beneath the foliage for forest fruits.  Muscular and gaudy, these are such delightful birds.

There weren't any early Stone Curlew, but a Red Admiral, Snowdrop, and Muntjac Deer, created an ensemble of epic Spring wildlife.

Video featuring Hawfinch, Barn Owl, and Brambling to follow.

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