Thursday, 26 December 2013

Another bash at the 2-bars

The Safari left temporary Base Camp not long after first light on a criply frosty morning. Our aim was to get better views of the local Two Barred Crossbills and hopefully get better pics too. As were driving out of the farmyard a massive flock of about 250 Fieldfares flew over. 
The road was icy in places and not one for racing on! We successfully negotiated the tortuous lanes and just before the final turn at the top of the moor a cracking Red Grouse was sat on the roadside dry stone wall, we pulled over slowly for a pic only to see him drop down on the far side, woulda been too dark anyway as although it was light the sun hadn't yet risen over the hills on the far side of the valley.
Getting to the bottom road we parked up and walked along the lane quietly listing for the distinctive calls. We soon heard Common Crossbills and saw a couple fly over the tree-tops. A Jay called from the woods, before long we'd seen several, a Sparrowhawk sped low along the carless lane. By the time we'd reached where we saw the 2-Bars on Christmas Eve we'd seen or heard nothing but a couple of Great Tits and a Chaffinch. On the lake behind us there was only a single Mallard and three Tufted Ducks.
We wandered by towards the feeding station in the woods we'd been told about where we met another birder, from Dubai of all places but only from Newcastle today.
The feeders were alive in the chill of the morning and we were able to stand against a tree only a few feet from them. If only there'd been a bit more light.
These fighting Pheasants kept us amused.
At the feeders there were lots of Blue and Coal Tits with a few Great Tits thrown in, Robins and Dunnocks too. 
 More searching the tree-tops gave us a Treecreeper and a Nuthatch, more Jays and loads of Woodpigeons. Then our companion heard a call he didn't recognise and scouring the tops of the Larch trees in the distance we found our quarry lit up like pink fairy lights on a bald Christmas Tree, but sadly much further away than the other day. We watched them for a while before deciding to see if we could get through the woods for a closer view, we did but it wasn't that much closer...and then they flew off.
By now it was time to get back to the farm so we left our friend to it and drive back up the hill where, at the crossroads, this misty view met us. 
It was now time to take Frank out for a bit of an explore away from the ducks and chickens in the farmyard, he very nearly grabbed a duck last night - bad dog!!!
We got as far as the local recycling centre to off-load a plethora of tins and bottles which happened to be next to the local park where Frank could have a little stretch and play ball.
A footy match was in progress which he wanted to jon in with. We didn't let him but tried to get some 'Sports Report' type pics...not very successfully. The pitch had an enormouss slope to it and almost all the action had are backs to us against the light. 
Where to next? More wild wet and windy weather is forecast tomorrow so we've no idea what we'll be upto - pics of chickens, farmyard ducks and the local House Sparrows might be all you get perhaps.
In the meantime let us know who's hiding in the tree-tops in your outback.  

1 comment:

cliff said...

A good selection of photos their Dave, the Pheasants are nicely framed.