I have seen four Brambling at the feeders, at The Lodge, during February. Just the one male, and they are very elusive at times, but this one decided to see what it was like on the other side of the fence for once, such lovely tones on these birds, perfect for blending in with the leaf litter.
On one day up at The Lodge I noticed the leaf litter below the wooden fence, surrounding the feeders, moving. It wasn't the wind and it wasn't a Siskin playing hide and seek, it turned out to be a Bank Vole. No sooner had it showed itself that it disappeared down a hole close to the fence. In between viewing and photographing the birds I kept noticing the vole firstly check the coast was clear from the hole entrance and then dash out for some spilt seed before disappearing again. I then realized there were two voles, as one approached the hole, the occupier keeping guard just out of view decided to see him on his way!
A selection of Lesser Redpoll images whilst I have been trying to photograph the Mealies at The Lodge, lovely little birds that I've had fun in getting shots. The light can be awful under the tree canopy so I had to up the ISO quite a bit so as to capture these flighty little finches. Still its been good practise manually sussing out the best camera settings.
In the above image check out the colours in the crown feathering, and you can see it mixing into the breast feathers too.
This one is showing a more orange toned crown.
Check out the lovely pink hues to this adult bird.
The last trip to Bev's with my dad was very quiet indeed, mind you the temperature was still cold so I don't blame the birds for not putting on a show. This time the weather was brighter and a tad milder, I spent most of the time watching the group of Shoveler, one male was actively chasing the others away from his female, and most encounters would end in the whole group taking flight and after a couple of circuits of the lake they would all land and resume the jostling around.
On viewing the northern lake I saw a pair of Oystercatchers take flight and head north, they didn't return unfortunately, with the water level still quite high there was not enough of the island showing for them to stay, hopefully they will return. On looking back at the records from last year, I had seen them towards the end of February, so maybe a week or so earlier, but a sign of changes to come.
This selection of images were taken on the 8th and 9th at the Lodge RSPB, my Dad and I stopped in after the Fudge duck hoping to connect with a Mealy Redpoll, I then spent the Saturday morning there. At least 4 individual Mealies were seen alongside a good number of Lesser's. The Siskins were in good numbers, trilling away, some of the males were so colourful. On the both days just a couple of Brambling were seen, a lot more elusive than the other species.
I visited Priory CP again, this time my Dad accompanied me. The morning was cold but the prospect of a brighter start looked good for some more images of the Fudge Duck!
It showed well for us, moving off and returning dependent on the dog walkers, it was a lovely bird to see again. It was very dominant at times and frequently displaying to the females, chasing other male Pochards away. When displaying it would throw its head back as waterfowl do, but it would also seem to suck back its neck, flattening it at the same time, peculiar. A joy to see again and in the company of another lovely duck, the Pochard.