Tuesday 20 February 2024

The Brecks - 19th February 2024

 A www.blueeyedbirder.com adventure:

Another early start and a meet up at Mayday Farm did not go quite according to plan with a severe accident on the M11 holding up some of the crew.  Despite the later start and some persistent drizzle we stuck to the plan and were greeted but grey skies full of the song of Woodlarks who did not seem to mind the weather.

The Cherry Plum had fully opened in the last week and there were drifts of fluffy white blossom lining the path and positively glowing in the poor light.  There were fewer small birds on the circuit this time but Crossbills actually did the descent thing and perched up this time while Linnets were now in the main the clearing.  The only Brambling were a few odd birds with the Chaffinches beyond the Beech trees where Marsh Tits were found with the Tits foraging on the ground.


Crossbill - Colin Berwick

Nuthatches and Treecreepers were singing but proving difficult to see and the Common Buzzards were now up and about as the sun briefly poked through but seeing a Goshawk on this route would have been pure chance so we plodded back towards the cars passing a pair of Woodlarks foraging by the first crossroads where they were already collecting food.  Is it possible that they already have young in the nest?



Woodlark - Colin Berwick

With a tad of warmth the Cherry Plum blossom now had big Buff-tailed Bumblebees and both Eristalis tenax and pertinax in attendance as well as nine gleaming Red Admirals.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Eristalis pertinax

Eristalis pertinax

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

On to our regular Goshawk spot where the breeze helped our efforts and we soon had magnificent views of a big brown immature female (probably two) and an adult male along with many Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and even an immature Peregrine that had a real good go at the Wood Pigeons.


The Gos had already eaten as it was very crop heavy and explained its lack of interest in the panicking Pigeons.  A Yellowhammer called a metallic chink from the nearest tree and a pair of Stonechats were using the old trailer as a lookout for lunch.  

Stonechat  - Ivor Hewstone

We left the pigs quarrelling over their own lunch and headed back to Lynford Arboretum for our own.

Thankfully it was not as manically busy this time and after grub we walked down to the tunnel by the wall where in short order we were watching about 20 wonderful Brambling and at least three Hawfinches once again.  There was even a glimmer of sunshine which accentuated the wonderful colour on both species. Singles of Yellowhammer and Siskin came down to bathe in the small pond.

Brambling & Hawfinches - the two main protagonists

Brambling - Colin Berwick

Siskin - Colin Berwick

We slowly walked the loop with Goldcrests, Coal Tits and a Great Tit sneezing energetically like a Marsh Tit before we found the real deal further along the trail.  Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were ‘chicking’ and yaffling and a male Firecrest started his fizzy little song and put on a very good show, albeit quite high up in the Ash trees.

Dunnock - Colin Berwick

We spent some time down at the bridge watching the commoner Tits and their Marsh Tit friends coming into the feeding area along with a couple of blue triangular Nuthatches while a flock of buzzy Siskins and a few Goldfinches were feeding in the lakeside Alders. A medium sized bat with quite prominent ears was slowly flying around the bridge. My gut said Daubenton's but only Ivor managed a pic of it. 

Daubenton's Bat? - Ivor Hewstone

It was getting chilly and the light was going so we ambled back pleased with the day’s efforts seeing six Yellowhammers now waiting in the tree tops while the Hawfinches invisibly called.

Nuthatch - Ivor Hewstone

Marsh Tit

 Yellowhammers - Ivor Hewstone

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