Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sunday 16th January 2011 - local walk

Decided today to take a wander around the local area to see what about. Due to the weather I have to say my hopes weren't very high as it was quite windy, overcast and the threat of rain was ever present. So I was surprised when entering the first field to the east of Finedon when 7 Skylarks rose up into the air and started singing away effortlessly in the wind. In the Hedgerows was 5 Yellowhammers, with a few Linnets over the rough grass in the middle of the field. I continued down towards Little Addington disturbing a male Sparrowhawk on the way, which raised off the ground scattering the feathers from its breakfast everywhere before dashing off into the nearby woodland. With the exception of a few Great and Blue Tits and a couple more Skylark the walk up into Little Addington proved quiet, a small Wren in a front garden was calling but keeping its head down from the weather which was now starting to slowly rain. I crossed over the road and then started the walk down towards Stanwick Lakes. The hedges along the footpath contained a few signing Robins and a pair of Blackbirds and as I got to the mid way down the hill 50+ Fieldfare flew from a tree across the valley. As I approached the bottom of the hill a number of Skylark all flew into the air at once and a quick count revealed  27 of them.....so 38 Skyarks in total during a quick walk from Finedon to here, which is more than I expected as the numbers around here have dropped a lot in recent years as they have in many other areas of the country. Stanwick was fairly quiet too. The lakes were full to overflowing and the surface water was very choppy. I came down here initially to go through the gulls to see if anything interesting was about, but with the exception of a load of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Tufties and 3 Redshank the large main lake was pretty empty. A walk through the reedbed produced a few Tits and Cormorants over head. The layby pits seemed to be the place to be though as they were blanketed with Tufted Ducks and Canada Geese etc, with Black Headed, Herring Gulls and Lesser Black Backed on the scrape obviously all using the extra cover as shelter. A stroll through the wooded section near the reedbed failed to produce any Woodcock too so I decided to start the walk back to Finedon. A few Black Headed Gulls were causing a racket next to Sand Martin Bridge, and the small lake to the west of the bridge contained Shovelor, Gadwall, Tufties, Mallard, Wigeon and a peculiar looking goose which looks like a Greylag x Barnacle hybrid - it had a Geylag back and bill but with a white head and it was also tiny - smaller in fact than a normal Greylag. A small flock of Long Tailed Tits were feeding near the road side at Irthlingborough and a lot of gulls were in the flooded fields to the west of here but a quick glance through didn't turn up anything exciting. The only highlight on the long trudge back to Finedon was 6 Fieldfare passing overhead. A nice walk though in the breeze, and its always good to see some farmland birds. I don't think this is a true reflection of numbers though as Yellowhammers are pretty abundant around here, as are the Skylarks, but due to the weather I think most of the birds were just keeping their heads down......and to honest I cant blame them!! Strange not to see any Buzzards or Red Kites though.

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