Friday, 12 September 2014

Firecrest brightens up a dull morning

12th September - as I got out of the car this morning, I could hear a tit flock going through the trees right next to me.  Not unusual at this time of year.  I watched it for a short while and as usual saw mainly Long-tailed Tits with quite a few Chiffchaff, so I began to walk off.  I had only walked a few paces when I heard crests calling, again not unusual as there are lots of Goldcrests on site all year round, but I turned to watch the elder bush they were coming from and immediately saw a cracking male Firecrest with its crest up chivvying was I presumed was another crest, though this was hidden by foliage.  The view lasted all of 5 seconds and then I lost it.  I waited another 10 minutes, but the tit flock had moved on and the crest calls had stopped, so I went to the lake.

Nothing much here, although there were tit flocks and Chiffchaffs all over the place, many singing intermittently.  I decided to walk the circuit, which I haven't done in ages, as it's usually quite unproductive.  Today was no exception!  A couple of Bullfinches in the southern trees and a Reed Warbler scolding from a reed bed on the NE side were the highlights!

As I neared the car park and walked the northern footpath north of the concrete road, I heard crests calling from a low oak right next to the path - I almost ignored them, as I often do, but today I stopped and walked back towards the calls.  I picked up a bird - it was a Goldcrest, then another bird - a Firecrest!  It was now about an hour and a half since I had first seen the bird less than 100 yards away, so it looked to be favouring this general area.  It wasn't with a tit flock now and just kept close company with this Goldcrest, both being quite vocal.  It was showing really well in the undersides of the trees, so after watching it for a while, I decided to try and use my point and press camera for a record shot.  This would have been impossible if it hadn't been fairly close and in fact at one point it came within 6 feet of me, though the lack of light underneath the trees didn't help.

You can make out the white super and vivid green mantle

Same record shot cropped
Unfortunately blurred, but you can see the head pattern

This is another patch tick for me and a bird that is fairly scarce on site with only a handful of records that I am aware of.

Last Tuesday, I walked around parts of the patch that I rarely see and found a nice Whinchat perched on the fence surrounding the new athletics track.  It actually looked to be lying on it having a rest when I first saw it and then stood up to show its legs in a normal posture.  A Spotted Flycatcher was also in this area and now makes about 5 of these over the past couple of weeks, so obviously having a good year.

On a couple of after work visits, I have seen the regular adult Yellow-legged Gull both yesterday and the day before and yesterday it was joined by another adult, a bird with vivid yellow legs rather than the washed out colour of the regular bird.

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