Monday, 14 November 2011

The Day After The Day Before

Where to start, doing the feed rounds with Dad on a rather bright sunny mid November Sunday. 2 Red Kites showing up in pretty much every field on the Estate, fair to say they were probably following us either that or there's about 4 pairs. A trio of Buzzards circling above the Christmas Trees at the back of the Pond, looked as if the thermals were pretty good, I'd imagine scanning the fields to see if there were any missed Pheasants that weren't picked from the Shoot the day before.

Pine Cones
Pied Wagtail
All of the Pine trees are absolutely loaded with Cones at the moment, I'm constantly looking up hoping that I might see a migrant Crossbill tucking in at the top of the tree - but no such luck, just blue sky. Which I guess i should'nt really complain about!

A pair of Pied Wagtail were flitting about close-by up at the Dryer, a pretty common bird round and about the area, but I must admit I couldn't remember the last time I saw one on Apsley - so maybe somewhat of an unusual sighting.

Grey Partridge
Nice to see a Covey of about 18-20 Wild Grey Partridge showing up in the middle of the Estate, giving themselves away instantly with their pretty distinctive call. I also passed the flight pond on the rounds, you never know you might sometimes on the off chance get a glimpse of the elusive Kingfisher, a high chance now that the banks have been cut back and the water can actually be seen.

I did however get a quick glimpse of a Bird, that after pouring through all of the Bird guides at home, I still have absolutely no idea as to what it could have been, Probably about the size of a Snipe, it flushed up from the edge of the water, with a striking White underside and tail feathers, and jet black wings that continued across its back, it flew off at some speed not unlike a Wading bird with the pointing wing shape, calling continually as it disappeared over the river and beyond, quite a shrill Whistling call, Id like to think my bird id skills are pretty good, but I still have no idea at all.

Male Black Redstart
To end the day a first for me and from speaking to Mum and Kath (my sister - the trainee Bird Ringer) a first for them too, Walking the dogs round the old farm buildings, now converted into some rather rural office space - I came upon a rather animated Robin sized bird flitting about on the slates of the buildings roofs, so quickly up came the camera.

Male Black Redstart
I must admit i've had to lighten the photos quite a lot in Photoshop as it was about 4pm and the light fading fast, my initial synopsis being a Male Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) but after snapping off about 20 pics and comparing them when I got home, I can conclude a positive identification of a Male Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) which being perfectly honest in all of my vast 25 years I have never heard of!

So all in all a good day, Just rather annoyed that I didn't get chance to grab a few snaps of the mysterious wading bird.


  1. Hi Martin, your mystery bird is a nicely described Green Sandpiper, you even have the call right! They tower away from stream edges showing a very black and white pattern above. Go back to the area again early one morning and you might see it better...

  2. Many thanks Stewart, The call does sound very similar, Im not so sure on the markings, but then I did only get a quick glimpse! Just seemed a very small piece of water for something like that to be on.

  3. They get on any puddle Martin, I've seen them on flooded cattle troughs! Best places are small ox-bow type pools next to streams, or small open muddy farm ponds.