Tuesday 31 March 2020

31 March 2020

Yet again, I am delighted to receive a local bird report from one of our readers back in the UK but, sadly, no name attached so I shall have to refer to his, or her, report as the "Anonymous Birder."  But, nevertheless, I am most grateful for your contribution which I can now share with our fellow readers, many of whom are unable to get "out and about" as the lock down restrictions in Spain are more severe.  Looking at your descriptions and birds seen I have a sneaking feeling that you may be from the coastal area of Lincolnshire or, perhaps, even over onto Norfolk.  No doubt somebody will correct me.
A Morning Walk by the Anonymous Birder: 30 March

Soon after I got out of bed this morning I just knew that I desperately needed some rigorous exercise. Too old to take up running or jogging but I can walk quite swiftly so, with bits and pieces first to do, it was 8:50 BST before I got out of the house hoping that on the way I might just see the odd bird species.

The wind had dropped considerably from that on Sunday however, with the air temperature at about 5C and low cloud, I was hopefully appropriately dressed.  As for birds it did remind me at times of
"Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the boidies is?"

Sounds like I am complaining, however as I can  get out and about for exercise once a day, even though the birds are not as numerous as I would like, I should count my blessings.

(I certainly would not want to be in Brooklyn currently.  I understand the full version of the above "poetry" is their unofficial anthem!)

Robin  Erithacus rubecula (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
Destination, again, the large quarry, and the first part of my exercise by main road is accomplishes in 20 minutes at near enough 4mph which had me feeling much better, as did seeing my first Lapwing for a week, on its own in looping flight over a field adjacent to the road.  Of course, there were other species on the way including Blue Tit, Great Tit, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Crow, Robin, Dunock, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, a couple of Canada Geese languishing in a field and a couple of Greylag Geese flying above me who were going exactly my way but much, much faster .

Off the main road where I had a few days ago seen winter thrush, the field had now been worked to a fine tilth ready to be seeded, which as they were absent might not now be to the thrushes liking.  A male Pheasant was in that field, a Kestrel sat on a power line but too distant for me to determine its sex, and on the opposite field a couple of Crow flew over.  A Song Thrush was putting out its utterance more distantly.  Surely I am not the only one who thinks this species urgently needs singing lessons, but who am I to judge as my preference it to be " over" before, not after, the fat lady sings!

The path here was wide so that when I came to the only person sharing my way throughout my walk, one man and his dog (but no sheep), we were able to pass at twice the recommended distance.  I carefully crossed over 2 styles, without touching anything with my hands, and no fall from grace.

I was now approaching the quarry and heard, then saw, my first Chiffchaff of the several I was to come across, some of whom were "chiffing," with the added start of what I call the rusty gate sound, and some of which were just calling “wheat”.  A male Chaffinch was singing its heart out from the top of a small tree and a Wren from a less elevated position.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
The quarry was not overrun with birds a handful of Mallard, more (3)Tufted Duck, 2 Cormorant, a Great –crested Grebe, 2 male Shoveler, 15 Black-headed Gull, a Lesser Black-backed Gull that over flew, and as a proof that absence makes the heart grow fonder, I enjoyed hearing those Coot that were busying themselves around the water.  A Skylark was singing flying laterally.  Later I was to view a lark ascending.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus (PHOTO: Bob Wright)
About turn and started making my way home, a Pied Wagtail makes its undulating flight (to Chiswick?), I see a noisy Magpie and soon find 2 quiet Long-tailed Tit.  It then starts to rain, not much more than nuisance rain, but cold rain that’s not, I’m sure, enjoyed my many (no not Culrain which I am sure is a lovely place), so back to a small wooded area that provides shelter from the wind and rain.  When I think that it has stopped I set of home again then back I come to the wood’s shelter. I take out of rucksack my warm hat, my waterproof trousers and once donned I am ready for anything but hang around a little longer but I am soon on my way.  I pick up on 3 Herring Gulls flying in the opposite direction to my travel.

Before reaching the main road I put my bins away (we don’t want anyone misunderstanding why I am out and about do we), and then immediately see 20, 30 perhaps a 100,not Starlings, but winter thrushes and I am thinking Redwing. They disappear into some distant trees but then 3 return and these from flight and tail length are Fieldfare.

Bits of rain on my way home but best, of course, nobody where I ‘m walking.  Just before getting home the sun comes out.  Drat!  However, I was only in the house a couple of minutes and it's back to rain, but much harder than anything earlier so I’ve done very well, and 30 + species.  I’m just a whinge!

Birds recorded:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Kestrel, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sky Lark, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff , Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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