Saturday, 9 February 2013

Pearson Park birdwatching

Sometimes, birdwatching on your local patch can be amazingly rewarding. Today the day started with sun and a hard frost. I set off early towards the park, hoping to avoid the bulk of visitors and dog walkers. The ground is covered on hoar frost.
I walk around the park. There is lots of different species singing: Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Dunnock, Robin, Stock Doves, Collared Doves, Mistle Thrush and the first, tentative singing of two Chaffinches, which seem unable to finish their repetitive phrase. A small Greylag flock feeds on the grass. A couple of individuals watchful for dogs, while the rest feed or rest. I was appalled when a few days ago I watched a woman encouraging her dog to chase the geese.
 After the perimeter walk, I decided to stay for another five minutes and explore the area at back of the conservatory. This was rewarded by a Golcrest, Long Tailed Tits and a Wren feeding on and under the leaf litter, giving a very mouse-like impression. I also managed to watch the courtship of the Stock Dove, very similar to that of the Woodpigeon, with bowing and tail fanning.
As I was watching a Long Tailed Tits, I heard the distant calls of geese, and looked up to see a large flock of Pink-Footed geese, flying high in a V shape towards the north. I have never seen them migrating so early, but it was probably a small movement toward Scotland, in anticipation to their migration to Iceland. I counted (on the photos I took), a flock of 104 and another of 138.
This first year male Blackbird was feeding on the frosty ground. It sprinted and then raised its tail almost to the vertical, and repeated it again. I tried to get a shot when the tail was at its highest, but failed, as I had to follow it as it run, and it had started to lower its tailed by the time I focused it.
Mallard pair on ice
This Common Gull kept a close eye on the ground as it paced on the frosty grass
Frost on the wildlife garden
I noticed a pair of Woodpigeons on a roof. The female had adopted a horizontal position and I just had time to get this poor shot of them mating.
Stock Doves were very obvious today. This one sang from a high tree.
Migrating Pink-footed geese

A short video of the migrating geese
A watchful Greylag, while its partner feeds.
The frost steams with the morning sun
This Robin had a reason to look up worriedly. A thin whistling alarm call announced a male Sparrowhawk flying past, and setting off a mixed flock of tits into frenzy. 
This is my only shot of the Sparrowhawk, settled on the tree, with white undertail feathers fluffled up. The the little birds continued calling making quite a kerfuffle nearby and they didn't stop until the raptor flew away.

I don't think I have seen so many species on a trip to the park before!

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull        
  2.  Blackbird        
  3.  Blue Tit        
  4.  Canada Goose        
  5.  Carrion Crow        
  6.  Chaffinch        
  7.  Coal Tit        
  8.  Collared Dove        
  9.  Common Gull        
  10.  Dunnock        
  11.  Feral Pigeon        
  12.  Goldcrest        
  13.  Goldfinch        
  14.  Great Spotted Woodpecker        
  15.  Great Tit        
  16.  Greenfinch        
  17.  Greylag Goose        
  18.  Herring Gull        
  19.  House Sparrow        
  20.  Long-tailed Tit        
  21.  Magpie        
  22.  Mallard        
  23.  Mistle Thrush        
  24.  Moorhen        
  25.  Pink-footed Goose        
  26.  Robin        
  27.  Song Thrush        
  28.  Sparrowhawk        
  29.  Starling        
  30.  Stock Dove        
  31.  Woodpigeon        
  32.  Wren     

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