Sunday, 18 January 2009

18th January 2009

I did my first Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) counts at the lakes from 8:50 am to 11:35 am - possibly only the second time I've reached Earlswood during the early morning! I think it went quite well, though I probably shouldn't have spent so long doing each of the three counts. At Terry's Pool, I saw 6 Tufted Ducks and 2 Cormorants; as well as 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Jays fly over. Waterfowl were low in number at Engine Pool (birds at the nearby canal feeder and a flooded field along Valley Road made up most of my count for this pool), but I did see a Collared Dove and two Siskin flocks, numbering 30+ and 12, around the edges. Most of the waterfowl at Windmill Pool were hiding under the trees along the western side, amongst which were 4 Pochards.
After the counts, I decided to check out the field in-between Ambleside Garden Centre and the Hungry Horse, and was rewarded with 22 Golden Plovers, 220 Lapwings, 11 Stock Doves and 18 Starlings. A good number of thrushes were present in another field along Norton Lane, of which I could make out 10+ Fieldfares.
I then proceeded along Rumbush Lane. Near Rumbush Farm, I saw a man shooting Woodpigeons in a field and didn't like what I saw, as among the 20 or so motionless pigeon bodies lying on the ground there, 2 of the birds were actually injured and tried to escape when the man approached them; he quickly grabbed one then the other by the head and shook them 'til they stopped moving - hardly humane in my opinion. A Kestrel flew and rested quite close to where the pigeon shooter was at one point, but he didn't try to shoot it. Reaching Earlswood Railway Station, I was able to see 3 Bullfinches at the side of the railway from the bridge. I continued on along the roads to Blackoak Wood, which is situated next to Junction 3 of the M42, but nothing particularly noteworthy was seen at this very noisy site (as expected). After taking a footpath that runs alongside Checkley's Coppice and The Plantation, I saw a single Meadow Pipit and a flock of 8 Pied Wagtails in fields in-between Poolhead Lane and the M42. From Poolhead Lane, I then took another footpath that took me to Clowes Wood, at which I saw 1+ Buzzard and heard a Common Pheasant.
Boy was I tired when I got back home!
M.P. Griffiths

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