Friday, 8 January 2016

January 8th, 2015 - a morning off work

I'm owed two half days, so decide to use one and head to up to Rufford Country Park on the Sherwood Arrow.  It's a cold morning with clear skies, just the weather for Hawfinch, I muse.

I kill some time in town by getting an Americano from cafe Nero on Milton Street, while being treated to Mozart in the background.  Nice.

I'm soon hurtling up the A614, before the bus begins its tortuous way around Farnsfield and Bilsthorpe.  We pick up and set down no one.

In Clipstone it seems every school child in the village gets on and I'm cursing the valuable lost minutes when I could have been watching birds.  Eventually I'm set down opposite the park and I contemplate the suicidal proposition of the Ollerton road in the rush hour.  I pick my moment as there is a gap in the traffic and within five minutes I hear the distinctive 'tick'of a Hawfinch.

There's already seven or eight birders on site, including a familiar face - Richard Dakin in one of his famous woolly hats.  I go for a pee and that's the cue for three Hawfinch to appear in their favoured trees along with a mixed finch flock.  Richard kindly lets me look through his scope and I get a record shot with my camera.  It's five minutes after sunrise, so not top quality but you can see what it is, plus a nice Mistle Thrush in the same pic.

Hawfinch & Mistle Thrush

After 10 minutes the birds disappear into a little group of Yew trees and I hear a Hawfinch call but they're down and out of sight.  

I head back on the next bus back and with the sun still shining I connect with one of the city centre Peregrine Falcons.  It's best when they perch on one of the lower ledges, but I risk a dodgy record shot before a much needed breakfast in the shape of a bacon and cheese wrap from Gregg's.  

Peregrine Falcon

Next it's off to Highfields Park.  My Genie card is saying 'corrupted' on the driver's console but she kindly lets me on, saying I need to ring the office.  The first bird I get on site is a female Sparrowhawk, which puts up a flock of pigeons and it calls once before flying into the distance. 

On the lake I spook a drake Shoveler, which was minding its own business under the bank. It soon heads for deeper water but not before I get a fairly decent shot.  There's a handful of Goosander here, and a nice Grey Heron but not the usual Teal.  I also see Green Woodpecker in the adjacent science park.  With the 2014 annual report in need of attention and the Rare Breeding Birds panel breathing down my neck, it's going to be next weekend before I can have a proper trip again.

drake Shoveler

Grey Heron

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