Monday, 28 November 2011

2, 4, 6, 8 Motorway!

After a whistle stop tour to birmingham on saturday night I did a spot of Motorway birding on Sunday morning whilst driving home. Im sure its not quite legal and but not perhaps scorned upon in the same manner as drink driving, driving whilst on the Phone etc but it had to be done! So in total via the M42, M40 & A34 I counted 2 Red Kites, 4 Buzzards, 4 Kestrels and about 10,000 Gulls stretching for miles near the Northampton junction on the M40, not sure if they were swirling around a land fill site, Or just some earthworks, but I have to admit it was quite the spectacle. And if your wondering no I didn't pull over on the hard shoulder for a better look or swerve across all three lanes to get a glimpse!

The bird table at home was heaving by mid morning, with Blue Tits, Great Tits, House Sparrows & Coal Tits all frequent visitors, the shadow of the house casting a horrible darkness over the scene though on a really bright day, One Blue Tit did however stop long enough in the sunshine.

Blue Tit
Kath (Sister & all round know it all) decided to come with me for the afternoon to see if we could find the Kingfishers, a lovely crisp Autumnal afternoon it turned out to be, definitely a slight nip in the air, Perfect for a walk! Anton Lakes the first port of call, with all the smaller birds seemingly vanished, a few Long Tailed Tits remained in the trees by the path, and 3 rather giant looking Greenfinches perched at the top of some young Ash Trees. The lakes harboring nothing new or out of the ordinary, Mute Swans, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Black Headed Gulls and a few Gadwall. Although a female Chaffinch did stop long enough for a quick picture! The males we saw had really dark and dull plumage, interesting and a little confusing when you question in your head what you know it is.

Female Chaffinch
On to Rooksbury Mill, expectant of Sunday afternoon dog walkers, so was pleasantly surprised at 3pm when the paths were empty. We headed straight up to the now aptly self proclaimed "Kingfisher Pool" the smaller of the too lakes rather scarcer than usual, with only 4 Mute Swans and half a dozen Mallard. A 20 minute wait at the Pool brought nothing but cold hands and the odd leaping fish. So we decided to walk around the larger lake, about a dozen Canada Geese joined by a pair of Tufted Ducks and a few Coots about all thats on offer, Which surprisingly is a lot more than normal for the size of the lake and the quiet spot its situated in. There's a small stream that runs parallel with the lake, and its only about 4 ft wide, hearing the Kingfisher before we saw him perched about 3 ft above the water about 100 yards away, not the best of views through the smaller branches over hanging the stream. Another call from the other direction, we turned pretty swiftish, as the second of the pair landed around 20 yards away, still calling to the other bird further upstream. Before flying away almost instantly. Another missed opportunity, but both birds seen at the same time so things can't all be bad.

Had some fun photographing some very inquisitive Long Tailed Tits on the far side of the lake, as the sun began to set. Also spotted a Treecreeper heading up a small Ash Tree, all in all a pretty good afternoon.

Long Tailed Tit

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