Hard work

My continued belief that constant local birding will bring forth rewards was sorely tested today. The low cloud, dull light and damp chill all conspired to make it feel as if I were birding inside a grey, soulless and birdless bauble. Places from where I can usually gain some compensation from the views on offer didn't even deliver, mainly down to the flat light and misty horizon. Passerines were lacking and the optics had to largely make do with a diet of corvids and pigeons - even the gulls have largely gone.

The pair of Lapwings on Walton Downs are still around - one bird was standing alert in a large field that slopes away westwards, hiding at least a third of the ground from view. There have been up to five pairs here in previous years and the fact that two birds have been present over the past three weeks bodes well for a species that is locally a rare breeder.

Canons Farm was largely a migrant free zone - no Wheatears (even though the fields look good for them), no warblers and no hirundines. A flock of 200 Linnets using Quail/Skylark/Tart's Fields were good value. It was not until early afternoon that the day gave me some reward when a smart male Brambling called from the front gardens of Reeds Rest Cottages - species number 78 in the 2015 patch challenge. This is my first local record since last autumn.

One can only hope that the winds and weather pattern will soon change, that the migrants will start to flow and we can, at long last, put away the hat and gloves.


Warren Baker said…
That was a pretty dire morning Steve, I was well fed up, almost chucked my bins in the hedge! The day was saved by a Swallow flying over late this afternoon :-)
Steve Gale said…
Both of our days was saved by a single bird then Warren. Small pickings for us inlanders.
Factor said…
A testing day by the sounds of it. Come and pay Holmethorpe a visit! I went out this afternoon in the hope of finding the pair of Garganey on the Moors, but they appear to have moved on, but saw 15 Sand Martin, 7 Swallows and a couple of House Martin feeding on the Water Colour lagoons. Also had a Peregrine perched in a dead oak south of Spynes Mere. Makes me realise how good my local patch can be!
Paul Trodd said…
Your day reminded me of 30 years worth of such efforts on the edge of the Chilterns at Dunstable. The only saving grace was that there was limited instant information from elsewhere, so you had no idea that the coast was dripping with migrants and couldn't be gripped off. I`ll never moan about a flat day at Dungeness again...
Steve Gale said…
Neil and Paul - in previous years I would have bolted to the coast by now, but my stubbornness to 'do' the very local sites is strong - but just for this year... I will be back down to Dungeness for a few days soon, and will hopefully be Holmethorpe bound for the goodie that will surely be found!

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