Saturday 22 January 2011
Saturday 22nd January 2011 - Twywell Hills and Dales
I decided today that some local patch watching was in urgent need of doing. I have spent most of last autumn in Norlfok and with xmas not too much local birding had been done. Twywell is one of my favourite local patches, it normally hold good numbers of birds, insects and mammals - not necessarily easy to find but then thats part of the challenge. This place is incredible during the summer months for its butterflies, and during the autumn the Goldfinch flocks can be massive due to amount of seed producing plants around here. Today though started as a cold, wet and fairly bleak winters day so my hopes were not too high. The temperature raised a lot over the last week and birds have been signing away all the time, but this weekend the weather has turned cold again so everything is quite rightly keeping its head down. From leaving the car I was straight away looking at a pair of Buzzard which had just taken off from nearby wasteland and were in the proccess of behind mobbed relentlessly by the local crow population. Although they are big and impressive birds its often crossed my mind that it can't be much fun being a Buzzard as everything seems to be having a pop at them all of the time. Anyway into the Whitestones area and Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Geenfinch (a single bird) and Green Woodpecker all presented themselves as I wandered through to reach the gate which leads down to the thicket between the reserve and Cranford. Around the thicket was a single Buzzard (one of the pair flushed from near the car park), Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, c50 Jackdaw, Goldfinch, Wren, 4 flushed Red Legged Partridge and a wing tagged Red Kite soaring overhead. The field west of here contained 72 Fieldfare and 1 Redwing. A pheasant shot across the field on the return walk and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker could be heard calling in the trees near the brook. Up back into the Whitestones area had a single Fieldfare and Greenfinch flying together, single Marsh Tit calling in the scrub and the other Buzzard this time perching on top of the footpath sign which leads to Twywell. The fields towards Twywell were full of Rooks and Magpies, and a walk along the top of the gulley produced 18 Redwing all flying into the woodland. A brief stop off at the pond couldn't find the normally ever present Kingfishers ( I hope they have survived the winter), and then getting on top of the gulley I had Blue Tits x 5 and Great Tits x6 all singing away in the valley below. With a Buzzard (I'm assuming one of the pair again) flying through the trees. At the end of the gulley walk was 2 Robins and one looked terrible even though it was behaving healthily. Its head and throat feathers were all damaged so it must have had a very near miss with a Sparrowhawk and must have got away. Another 2 Red Kites were soaring over the woodland, and in the wood itself things were very quiet indeed. Great Tits, Blue Tits and a single Siskin really being the highlights. The 18 Redwing were relocated feeding on the woodland floor and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was heard calling at the gulley end but not seen. Back to the pond and a small flock of Long Tailed Tits concluded the visit. I'm looking forward to getting back here after next week (I have a fortnight off!!), and seeing how things change. Also after a rather unexpected turn of events it now looks like I'm heading to Cley tomorrow, so lets see what that turns up.