Thursday, 7 February 2013

Confirmed Skylarks, Stonechat and more at Lake Farm today.

Spent a lovely 4 hours at Lake Farm this morning. The wind had ceased, so although it was cold, it was defintley bearable. I saw one Skylark flutter high then swoop low into the grasses, way too fast for me to grab a photo, but it was nice to confirm to myself that the Skylarks were defintley back at Lake Farm. The low sun made for some good photo opportunities and the birds were very obliging. This female House Sparrow was more than happy to let me fire off a few shots.

This Dunnock also posed for a few photos. Two of them were flitting around a bramble bush in the 'school' zone, so will be keeping an eye out for any nesting activity in the next few weeks.

The light made this Starling look a jewel.

I walked several times up and down the hedgerow on the eastern side, and incredibly counted 24 Reed Buntings at one time. They were very active today, doing acrobatics on the cow parsley then chasing each other in and out of the hedge. This is a great increase in the number I thought were at Lake Farm, and they are a mixture of mature males and females, and a few first winter birds.


As I started my second circuit I bumped into my friend Sue and her dog Jasper. Sue confirmed she had seen two Skylarks here on the 1st February, so its official, the Skylarks are defintley back. After chatting I was moaning I hadnt seen a Stonechat all morning and Sue said she'd just passed one, so we walked back to where Sue had been. Jasper is the ideal bird-watching companion, he doesnt run through the long grasses nor bark at anything that moves. However he soon lets you know if its time to walk on. Between us we found this beautiful lone female Stonechat topping at regular intervals.
After watching and photographing Mrs Stonechat, I walked back to where I'd previously seen the Mistle Thrushes, Redwing and Meadow Pipit. Still no sign of the Mistles, and no sign of the Redwing either, but I flushed the Mipit in almost exactly the same place as last time. It took to a tree and stayed there for a while before flying off across the site. I'll approach that area with more care next time and I really hope it sticks around. This photo is again, another bad angle like the last one I took on Tuesday, as you cant see the Mipits beak very well, but it was the only photo I managed to grab that was in focus.

So another enjoyable day for myself. I'm becoming very addicted to the antics of the Reed Buntings. It was nice to see Sue (and Jasper) again and compare notes. I was also approached twice on the site this morning by dog walkers, both asking if I was 'Wendy', nice to know my name precedes me hahahaha. One of them knew of me through Erin, the other apparently via some supporters of John McDonnell, the local MP.
I also received an email this morning from Erica, the lady I'd met whilst walking on Lake Farm with Erin on Tuesday. Erica works for Denny Ecology, and they've been sub-contracted by SES (Southern Ecological Solutions) to do a monthly bird survey of Lake Farm. Erica had previously met up with Peter Naylor on site, and it was sad to break the news that Peter had passed away. However I'm sure Peter is looking down and very pleased that Lake Farm is being well and truely looked after in his memory. 

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