Saturday, 11 January 2014

Every January

Saturday January 11

I enjoy it when I get there but never look forward to going. The target birds at Lynford Arboretum are Hawfinch and Crossbills. Over the years, Hawfinches have become less likely, especially since the back road to the Paddocks area became 'Private, authorised personnel only'. We didn't see one to-day, nor did anyone else. One couple we met, who recognised us from Scilly, had put in three hours before we arrived.
Such a beautiful day and we did see some nice birds. Leaving the car park and crossing the road to the Arboretum entrance, only Blue Tits were in evidence. There is now a large feeding station to the left of the track about 100 metres in. The usual Tits, Robin, Chaffinch etc with many Coal Tits, the woods ringing with the call of Nuthatches. My first Jay of the year  called loudly, 
Seeing a Knot of birders near the pay hut, we returned in time to see one female Crossbill before it flew away. We later saw five flying overhead, calling as always. Despite patient searching, Goldcrest was the only small bird skulking here, no sign of any Firecrest.
The Alder wood near the bridges was very actively populated. A few Siskin and Redpoll, more Nuthatches, Coal Tits and a couple of Marsh Tits. That's two birds caught up from Pam and she caught up with Lesser Redpoll. 
Bringing my eyes down, I noticed that someone had placed lumps of fat full of nuts and seeds on top of the bridge pillars. As soon as the group also noticed and moved back, Marsh Tits and Nuthatches came down to feed, only staying a short while to grab and fly. Pam tried some photography and , eventually I tried too, using my small camera, the only one I'd carried as I had my scope on my back.

Greatly enlarged, my first Nuthatch photo., appalling !

PAM'S PIC Marsh Tit
Looking for an opportunity to move off, a Kingfisher flashed through. The most unexpected sighting of the day.
A late lunch at St Helen's Picnic Ground where we saw two Chinese Water Deer and Highland Cattle - very few birds and no additions, before driving home.

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