Monday, 20 February 2012

17th February - Early Morning Old Down

A dreary damp morning, but still mild, I took the chance first thing in the morning to take the camera back to the wood, I am hoping that I can capture the owner of the tracks, so we will have to see what happens.

When I parked just off Brislands, I got out of the car to a considerable amount of bird song, however the one that caught my ear was that of the Skylark, it was singing away high over the field to the north, despite searching I couldn't find it though.  In the woods the Great Tits were doing there best to confuse me.  I was always told that if you heard a call that you did not recognise then it was probably a Great Tit, today was definitely the case.  A drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker also caught my attention, and as I searched for the bird, it was clear from the calls that another was close by.  Suddenly all hell broke lose and 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were calling loudly and chasing each other through the trees.  This was the second time I had seen this behaviour, and was probably something to do with either territory or mates! 

A flock of Blue and Coal Tits came through along the hedgerow, calling constantly and definitely showing signs of pairing up.  Coal Tits are deceptively small.  I think the black cap makes them appear much larger than they are.

In the wood I came across the remains of a Woodpigeon, all that was left was a collection of feathers scattered around a small stump, so I am assuming the woodpigeon had been the meal of a Sparrowhawk.  It seems a bit of a mismatch in terms of size, but I did see a Sparrowhawk with a Woodpigeon last year in the middle of the road at Lyeway, so I know they are more than capable.

Having sorted the camera out I headed back to the car, and was surprised to see four Robins on the path all close together.  They did not seem agitated and allowed each other to feed.  Normally in situations like that at least one Robin is the agressor. 

Back at the car I finally managed to find the Skylark high above the field singing in full voice, as I watched I noticed three birds fly into the trees, I thought they might be Meadow Pipits and as I tried to get closer for a better look they confirmed their identity as they flew off into the field calling.  As I tried to locate them I noticed quite a few birds in the field.  These were mostly Redwings, but along the side of the field Chaffinches and Goldfinches were dropping from the trees on to the ground and the dead seed heads.  I scanned through them in the hope maybe of a Brambling but with no joy.  Still the Goldfinches looked superb.

I drove back down Gradwell, still hoping the Little Owl would re-appear but with no luck.  In Alton Lane the Rooks were gathered around the nests in the rookery, I could really see if they were seriously starting to nest yet.  So I will check later next week when I have more time.

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