A couple of days ago it was sunny and not too cold a day, I went looking for some early Adders but to no avail, stopping for a walk around Bev's on the return journey I viewed the pair of Oystercatchers moving from field to lake, Little Egrets now numbered 3 but there was nothing else of note. Jump forward to today and the snow has returned, we awoke to find a decent layering outside. Sarah set off for work at The Lodge, and I awaited her phone call to inform me of the road conditions. Surprisingly the roads had been kept clear of too much snow and Sarah informed of just one other person braving the elements whilst photographing at the feeders. I readied myself and headed for The Lodge. The snow kept falling for most of the time there but after a couple of hours, numb feet and a few hundred shots in the bag I headed home for some warmth. This weather change recently must be playing havoc with the wildlife's sense of timing, I'm sure the Redpolls will be staying just that bit longer. Here is a selection of images taken.
A lovely bright but bitterly cold morning, I set about finding something to add to the year list at Bev's. There were a lot of wildfowl present, but amongst the Shoveler, on a shingle island, I noticed a lone Oystercatcher and next to that a Little Egret. It was nice to confirm the presence of the 'Oyc still, after only hearing it last visit with my Dad. And finally being able to add the Egret for the year list.
The 'Oyc spent most of the time in the field next to the A1, later moving to the grass on the east side of the main lake, feeding with the Greylags and wildfowl.
The Shoveler numbers had risen steeply, from 4 or 5 last visit to 22+ today, the males were very colourful in the sun, and a handful of Wigeon fed on the grass banks around the lake.
After all this time with no sign of Little Egrets, today turned up 2 birds, I presume the high water level is to their disliking though, they eventually moved towards the fishing lakes.
A Common Buzzard put on a good show a couple of times, and the air was alive with the sight and sound of Skylarks, there were groups in all the surrounding fields. Sadly still no sign this year of a Kingfisher.
When Sarah and I drove into our home village we saw a group of 5 Common Buzzards climbing on the thermals, it was definitely the weather for raptors with the warmest day of the year so far, and then a sign of change is upon us.. 2 Brimstone butterflies, lovely to see again and then to finish off a Honey Bee and 2 Bumblebees in the garden, everything is awakening.
A sight not usually seen around the feeding station, Goldcrest. Whenever I have been at The Lodge it has been a regular visitor around the feeders, picking up small pieces of sunflower hearts. Not the usual diet for these tiny birds but maybe it is having a real hard task of finding suitable amounts of insects. A welcome sight among the Siskins and Redpolls.
With so many Mealy Redpolls being reported at The Lodge, and plenty of pictures in the bag, Steve Blain and I decided to sort through our images and try and ascertain how many Mealies were involved. After a couple of hours, detailing wing patterns and plumage details we checked between our own photos and came up with 8 different birds. A couple of the original birds were still frequenting the feeders, and some new ones had turned up more recently. On my last visit with my Dad, we had seen 4 Mealy Redpolls and 2 of those were new to me. I would like to thank Steve Blain for taking the time to scour through the photos and educate me in Redpoll 'id which has been an interesting and enjoyable lesson, hopefully they'll stay a bit longer for some more photographs.