My apologies for the lack of posts but I've been away birding down in Cornwall and to be honest there's not been a lot to report. The big news is that we're starting to get some embryonic floods now forming with a thin pool along the North Channel at present and a puddle opposite the entrance to Aristotle Lane. So far this has just attracted a few Black-headed Gulls and Lapwings but as it grows it should start to pull in some other birds and we should start to get some Wigeon and Teal back on the Meadow in due course. There's a definite wintery feel to the Meadow now: the Linnet flock is numbering about 200 birds and there are now Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails feeding on the flood area. Mary MacDougall reported a flock of Golden Plover flying over within the last couple of weeks and I had a flock of about 30 Fieldfare which flew over late afternoon today though I've personally yet to hear any Redwings. Up in Wolvercote here are a few Shoveller and Teal on the Gullet now though the pool on the Meadow opposite has hardly any water in it. In other snippets of news I saw a Sparrowhawk today and a Kingfisher down on the Trap Grounds pond.
|I've been rather neglecting my garden mothing of late as numbers have been so low and it's getting to the end of the season now. I did manage to trap this Red-line Quaker the other day though|
One of the most interesting birding sights around at present is when one comes across a foraging mixed feeding flock. These dynamic flocks of feeding birds work their way rapidly through the trees, calling constantly to keep together. There's an advantage to all the birds in joining forces like this: with more birds in the flock they can each spend proportionally more time feeding and less time on the look-out for predatirs which is why different species will join in. As well as the usual Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, there are often Chaffinches, Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and Treecreepers to be seen in these flocks and it's always great fun trying to pick out the different species as they work their way along the tree line and it's always possible that something rarer may tag along in the flock.
|The main flower that's out now is of course the Michaelmas Daisy - these ones are looking rather faded now already and have lost their pinkish blush|