Sunday, 29 December 2013

My last outing of the year - winter Thrush-fest at Lake Farm and Cranford Park

I've been laid up with the dreaded Xmas-lurgy-manflu over the last five days, but as today was my last day off work this year, I made the effort to get out and about.
With layers of clothes, hat, scarf and gloves on, I waddled up to Lake Farm. During the week my mate Lorraine, had sent me some photos of how flooded the school building site was, and she quipped 'didn't know they were building a swimming pool too'.
I was hoping the flooded ground would put paid to any foundations being laid, but today the waters had subsided and a handful of gulls were making the most of the icy puddles left.
Elsewhere on site, it was so cold in the shade that the heavy overnight frost made it seem as
if it had been snowing.
There weren't many birds around compared to this time last year. December 2012 provided good views of Stonechats, Fieldfares, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings.
Today I saw a few Redwings and Song Thrushes, and a solitary Greenfinch.
Song Thrush all fluffed up amongst the berries.
Conserving energy by just reaching out for a berry.......
and chucking in its beak.
\Dreadful photo but Redwing on the left and Song Thrush on the right
I walked back into town after an hour, and decided to have a coffee before I headed home. I hadn't had a coffee in the last five days, so the combination of caffeine and fresh air gave me a second burst of energy so I jumped on the bus to Cranford Park.
Since the school building works have started at Lake Farm, I've found that I leave there feeling down and irritable. However Cranford Park has the opposite affect on me, it calms and relaxes me.
With a view like below, who can blame me.
I found two of the three resident Little Grebes.....
The huge Yew tree in the graveyard at St Dunstans, has been almost entirely stripped of berries. However the smaller one by the Information Centre is still full, and there was a lot of
activity in and around that area.
I lost count of the number of Redwings and other Thrushes, diving into the thick cover of the Yew.
Mistle Thrush
Song Thrush
There were at least ten Mistle Thrushes flying around, chasing each other and making their distinctive dry rattle call. I know there are a few pairs that breed at Cranford Park, but some of the birds I saw today must be north European immigrants being discouraged by the resident birds. The calls were almost alarm like and the behaviour was definitely territorial.
Apart from the Crows and Jackdaws, and a few calling Great Spotted Woodpeckers, the other most heard bird call was the good old Ring-necked Parakeets. They too, were intensely chasing each other, especially in the Headland wooded area. I don't normally bother taking photos of the Parakeets anymore, but in todays light, they did look rather splendid.
So that was my last outing of the year. On the 1st Jan 2014, my blog will be one year old,
so on New Years Eve I will be publishing a '2013 highlights blog' of all my favourite memories and photos of this year. 


  1. if you hap proppa man-flu you would not be out and about!!!!!!!!!!nice blog by the way ,use to go to cranford a lot years ago.

  2. Nice blog Wendy, look forward to reading the 2013 highlights. I'm new to blogging so I'm hoping to develop mine over the coming year !

  3. Good stuff. Nicely written. Very enjoyable read. Barny. Sussex birders.