Sorry for the lack of activity on the blog recently, due partly to Neil being away leading a tour and myself dealing with family issues.
My birding has been limited to when I'm out and about walking the dogs or watching the birds in the garden.
A pair of Stonechat are still present in the valley below Hanging Houghton. The fields here are currently very attractive to good numbers of Redwings, Fieldfare and Common Gulls. I have seen a female Peregrine hunting these thrushes on two occassions, each time giving a breath taking display of sheer power and speed.
I have flushed a Short Eared Owl a couple of times from a ditch where it has obviously been roosting. I believe that this bird is trying to hunt in the Blueberry area but, due to the change in the land management there it simply doesn't know where to go. I wonder whether this bird has previously hunted successfully at Blueberry and has returned hoping to spend the winter here. Sadly it will be disappointed and I expect will not linger.
Yesterday there were two male Bramblings feeding on the food at Harrington Airfield and a flock of approx 300 Golden Plover sparkling like jewels in the winter sunshine. Other birds included 8 Grey Partridge, 2 Woodcock, 2 Ravens and a female Peregrine, presumably the same bird that I see regularly in the valley below Hanging Houghton.
At Brixworth Country Park I disturbed at least 6 Brambling roosting in the bushes. Other birds seen there regularly include Siskins, Redpolls and Ravens.
Over the last couple of days our garden has been extremely busy with birds. They obviously knew that we were expecting some cold frosty weather. Tree Sparrows, Reed Bunting, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Nuthatches have all visited along with increased numbers of Blackbirds and Starlings.
Just before 1pm today there were 2 Waxwings in a nearby garden. I was trying to get a photo of them when two of the neighbours came out and started talking, bad timing, as the Waxwings then flew over our house and I had to leave. I looked for them on my return but no luck. Will keep my ears and eyes open tomorrow.