Monday, 14 January 2013

Snow birds


Well with the arrival of snow and a cold easterly breeze today was mostly taken up feeding hungry birds!

Birds in the garden included a smart male Brambling and the Jackdaw again with the eye-catching neck markings (possibly Norvic Jackdaw).

After feeding them, I tried photographing birds at the main feeding station at Pitsford Reservoir in the falling snow which proved to be tricky (images opposite).

An initial visit to Harrington Airfield this morning found plenty of birds in the bushes waiting for their food and 4 Bramblings came down almost straightaway.  However the second wave of snow covered the food so a return visit this afternoon and another scraping session and more food was required!  Good numbers of common birds flocked down with at least 8 Bramblings included.

A subsequent walk around the complex was mostly quiet but with a surprisingly significant number of Fieldfare gobbling up the very last of the berries.  I could see that there were a number of Skylarks in the snow on the top fields but I was amazed to count 500 as they took flight and streamed past me.  The last 50 or so birds suddenly veered up vertically, a sure sign of an approaching raptor, and a large female Merlin came across the fields underneath the last of the Skylarks.  The Merlin then adopted a slow wing-flap quarter across the fields, something I have not seen a Merlin perform before and far more typical of an accipter or harrier.  After beating up the airfield she perched briefly on one of the bunkers and then disappeared from view.


Neil M

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