Sunday February 19
Concerned that roads would be slippery after overnight frost and a -C temperature, we didn't leave until 9.00. The first news we heard on arrival at the Paddocks at Lynford Arboretum was that there were 20+ Hawfinches in the central tree at 8.20!! It was now 10.25........
Two hours later we'd:
Scanned from the usual seat, walked the entire perimeter and, had seen none. Well, I saw one fly into a tree above the path before Pam had finished getting herself dressed but, not satisfactory really.
It was a beautiful day, blue sky and very little wind, the latter was biting in the occasional gust. We met several people we knew, including two ex students of mine. All very pleasant.
Someone had spread food on top of a pillar on the first bridge, we lingered to watch Nuthatch and a pair of Marsh Tits come down to feed. The Robin chased everything off apart from the Nuthatch, which gave it a taste of its own medicine. Siskins constantly called as they flitted restlessly about and there were a lot of Crossbill calls. Two Redwing in the top of THE tree, raised the heart rate briefly.....
Time to move on to the disabled car park area to look for the Crossbill nest. I'd left my pager in the car, it tinkled and I read an old message 'Two-Barred Crossbill at Lyndford Arboretum'. Where? It's a big area. Shrug, ah well, we'll go for Crossbill before St Helens.
The car parking entry drive was crowded, about 30 birders coming and going including the finder of the 2 barred. The latter is a member of Berks (accidentally derogatory, honest) Bird Club, up for the day.He was becoming more and more agitated at the questioning from others present, poor chap. There's no reason to disbelieve him, he'd seen a pair and they had been photographed. If sent the promised photo, he was going to put it on BirdGuides to-morrow. I hope he gets the pic and the doubters will be put to rights. A brief view of a male Crossbill flying from the nesting area and we left for St Helens.
It was very crowded, picnicking families and dogs, we drove as far as the church, where Pam lunched.
Back to the Paddocks, viewing from the car this time, scope through the window. Eventually, a single female Hawfinch flew across the area, landing out of sight. That would have to do for to-day.
Not exactly crippling views of the two target species, we'll try again. No-one else was seeing them well either. Still thoroughly enjoyable, just being out birding.
Astonishing. 100 metres from our road, 3 male Goosanders flew south east. Where from and to?