Saturday, 18 January 2014

Meagre Pickings

17th January - it's on days like today that I wonder why I bother with patch birding and don't just go somewhere where there are birds to look at.

Water levels have obviously fallen.  The longer stalks of vegetation on the spit are beginning to poke through again and the lake has fallen back below the edge on most of the western side so that there are now only a few puddles to negotiate - at least as far as the still submerged south-western corner.  From the railway crossing, the flood meadows now have larger areas of grassland visible - certainly by the slightly raised banks of the Thames.  Many hundreds of Black-headed Gulls were enjoying these areas.  I waited about 20 minutes looking for Tuesday's Chiffchaffs, but not a sign - I wonder where they've gone? Maybe back within the impenetrable boundaries of the STW.  Other lake birds were much the same, so I decided to visit the arable farmland of Emmett's to the north.

Highlights here were a sizeable Linnet flock of around 100 birds and a nice flock of around 40 Skylarks.  No buntings visible and the few RL Partridges soon scattered when the regular shooting party turned up!

Pump Lane was unsurprisingly quiet, but so too were the eastern areas of the pits around the Roach and Crown Plaza pits, which was more disappointing.  I must get out here towards dusk for owls, but for today, my year list has trickled on to the high 60s - apart from the Siberian Chiffies, there has been nothing of note at all on patch - something's got to appear soon, surely!

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