18 March 2011

And the final tally is...

I finished up my week of lunchtime canal walks with not one, but three new ticks for the list.

I balanced up the week by walking for the second time down the stretch of canal running from Preston Bagot towards Lowsonford (but not going so far this time due to lack of time).

The sun was out again, although a chill will kept the temperature down to 10 degrees or so (Celsius, I mean - you won't often find me venturing out with a light fleece on at 10 Fahrenheit (which is -12 Celsius, I just looked it up)).

Alongside the blue tits, redwings and goldfinch that kept me company most of the way, a little side path bursting with wild garlic turned up the first new bird of the week - a goldcrest, flitting through some tree-bound ivy.

Shortly after I caught glimpse of a bullfinch pair that dashed madly in front of me before settling in still-bare hawthorns not too far away. And the moment I'd stopped near the end of my walk to do a mental tally for the week, I heard the tap-tap-tap of a great spotted woodpecker - a female just a couple of metres above my head.

So that tally is: mute swan; mallard; grey heron; pheasant; kestrel; buzzard; raven; carrion crow; jackdaw; jay; magpie; great spotted woodpecker; green woodpecker; nuthatch; blackbird; mistle thrush; song thrush; redwing; fieldfare; robin; dunnock; wren; house sparrow; starling; wood pigeon; collared dove; grey wagtail; blue tit; great tit; long-tailed tit; chiffchaff; goldfinch; chaffinch; siskin; bullfinch; greenfinch; and goldcrest.

That makes 37 (excluding the red kites I saw while on my London train, although that too was technically a lunchtime birding session). Not a bad total with some good birds included, and a useful (to me) reminder that you don't need a nature reserve, three hours and a £500 pair of binoculars to enjoy birdwatching - although the latter would have come in handy on more than one occasion ;-)

Bird of the day: Goldcrest (Regulus regulus), one of those birds which is common enough but which you can never guarantee seeing on any given trip - or indeed in any given week. Probably helped by the fact that it is Britain's smallest songbird.

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