Friday, 9 March 2012

Northward Hill RSPB 8-3-2012

Yesterday afternoon the sun shone briefly and I took the opportunity for a quick trip to Northward Hill RSPB especially as their bird feeders offer photo opportunities. All todays photos were taken at the feeders and this is where I started off my short walk. They were busy with Finches and Tits, Green, Gold and Chaff of the former and Great and Blue of the latter, a couple of Dunnocks were also nearby picking up fallen seeds from below.
Goldfinch and Greenfinch - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Moving on to the Marsh Viewpoint a Jay took off from where it had been feeding among the bushes. At the viewpoint the left hand reservoir provided a pair of Tufted Ducks, some Mallards and a Dabchick. The right hand one was a lot busier with about 80 Wigeon, some Teal, Lapwings, Coots and Black headed Gulls, there were half a dozen Gadwall a couple of snoozing Shovelers and a solitary Black Tailed Godwit. The nearby grass held a couple of Oystercatchers probing the soft earth whilst behind the reservoirs was a pair of Canada Geese and further off a few Greylag Geese grazed.

Goldfinch - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Greenfinch - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The skies were surprisingly empty, a loan Heron flew past and there was a slow but steady stream of Rooks flying to and fro interspersed with a few Jackdaws, one of these passing Rooks took umbrage at a hunting Kestrel and harried it for about half a mile coming dangerously close to it on a couple of occasions. I had hoped to catch a few passerines from here, but other than a Blackbird and a distant Chaffinch the only activity around the bushes was from the numerous rabbits happily grazing.

Great Tit - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I walked towards the Heronry as far as the Orchard, however a small logging encampment had appeared as RSPB workers were rapidly doing some repair work on the Orchard which involved a certain amount of tree felling – no passerines to be found here. I then took the scenic route back through the car park to the other viewpoint, en route I heard but could not find a Sky Lark, I also saw a Green Woodpecker that took off from the scrub about 6 feet to my left while I was watching a Robin to my right, it was about time I saw one as I had been hearing them all afternoon.

Blue Tit (facing into the afternoon sun) - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The only new spot from the second viewpoint was of a pair of Moorhens in the field, a distant Pheasant called repeatedly but without coming into view. One last visit to the bird feeders before going home gave me a Long Tailed Tit, a Collared Dove, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and from the bushes behind me a small flock of 10 Redwings. During the 2 hour walk I had also come across Carrion Crows, Herring Gulls, Wood Pigeons, and some Starlings.

Greenfinch with afternoon sun to its right - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The day was not quite finished, on the journey back to the M2 I caught a couple of Mistle Thrushes in a sports field and a Buzzard over the A228. Total for the trip was 40 with another couple heard but not seen.
Female Chaffinch - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

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