Friday, 1 January 2016

One year ends, another begins

With all the relations now gone we have got some time to go out and see some birds, or not see as it turned out! On New Year's Eve we went back to Heartwood Forest to see if we could find the short-eared owls which are still in residence. Walking around St. Albans it looked quite nice weather however when we got to the car-park it was apparent the bright blue skies and a stiff wind meant it was a tad chilly! Still, we joined the 5 or so other photographers by the owl's favourite field and whilst I scanned the skyline Judith set up her art-pad and did a bit of sketching.
It soon became apparent though that although the owls had been seen earlier they weren't playing ball. The very large number of families out with their dogs and children didn't help. There were a few birds around though, including a good number of skylarks who seemed to be getting a bit territorial judging by the number of conflicts going on.

Another bird which it is always nice to see were these yellowhammers. Like many of our previously common farmland birds they are now getting increasingly hard to find.

Mixed in with them were a few confiding reed buntings although they were some way distant from the nearest water!!

New Year's Day though was a very different prospect - cloudy, dull and wet. Still we did manage to get out down to Maple Lodge and to the aquadrome to get the year-list going. Whilst there wasn't anything particularly rare around I did manage to finish the day on 60 species with some highlights being a little owl on Stockers flooded field, goldeneye and red-crested pochard on the lake, siskins in small but numerous flocks at both sites and a buzzard actually perched on the roundabout at the end of the Uxbridge Road. Hopefully a couple more trips including Norfolk before work starts again should prove fruitful!