18 October 2015

Midweek moments

Lunchtimes, mornings and evenings after work - this time of year is all about making the most of the light before the clocks go back at Halloween.

A quick lunchtime walk around Langley threw up a healthy handful of hedgerow, farm and field birds, with highlights including goldcrest, nuthatch, a pair of yellowhammer, marsh tit (in its usual run of shrub) and three coal tits. 

Over at the lake, the cormorants have returned - a peak of nine last week, just a couple around this time. 

A lunchtime dash around Leam Valley the next day was strangely quiet - strange that is until I realised there was a working party and two tractor-pulled mowers on site. The birds, quite wisely, seemed to have vacated until the work was done.

However, there were still half-a-dozen teal on the scrape, great views to be had of a female kestrel and, as I headed back for the car park, a grey wagtail sitting motionless on an apple bobbing in a shallow stream / ditch.

An early evening walk round Napton at the end of the week was little more productive - a great crested grebe was the only new bird on the water since my last trip. 

However, the evening was notable for my first autumnal flock of fieldfares, perhaps 25 of them dashing away in the middle distance. I saw the same number again past my back garden on Saturday morning, meaning the autumn is now most definitely here.

Bird of the week: Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris), a large, bright and bold winter thrush; very much a herald of autumn and a welcome part of Britain's winter landscape.

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