Thursday, 1 January 2009

Vanellus Invasion!

Quite simply the best days birding around Cuddeson in the 20 weeks I have lived here. Being New Years Days I felt motivated to actually get out there and find some birds. I began, as always, by checking out the berries by Ripon College for Waxwings. There are 1000s in the Uk this winter and the cold spell is driving them south and west... surely its only a matter of time?

Still waiting: Waxwing-less berries in Cuddesdon

Then into the fields that run down to Cuddesdon Brook. 2 Mute Swans fly down the valley and land with Canada Geese on private land by the River Thame. Then I notice a flock of Lapwing in the short autumn sown crops - 24 in total, the first I've seen feeding around the village. But better than that is the single Golden Plover in their midst. And things get even better still in the next field with a flock of 23 Golden Plover. To put this in context, so far I have seen 4 Lapwing and 4 Golden PLover around the village in over 4 months. Today, including the fields north of the village, there is a total of over 60 Lapwing and 25+ Golden Plover!

Golden Plover, part of the 23 strong flock, a record count!

Red Kite: this individual passed low overhead, but the dark January skies made getting a good image tricky

The farm held 6+ Yellowhammer in with the Chaffinches and Greenfinches, and around every corner there were birds, with that feeling that anything could turn up. It didn't of course, but I enjoyed searching the Chaffinches flocks for Brambling, albeit unsuccessfully. Things were so good - its a relative term! - that I even found myself wondering if might be the best day of the year: on January 1st!!

Yellowhammers 6. Pine Buntings 0.

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