Sunday, 14 December 2014

Cold and blue, but 90 for the year

Pre-dawn in December. Two degrees below freezing and the light is similarly cold and blue:

I have three species in mind: Lapwing, Peregrine and Little Owl. All have been recorded every year since 2008, but I have not seen a single individual of any of these species this year. There are 18 days remaining. Little Owl is a long shot, since their breeding tree was felled early this year, the resident pair appear to have deserted the area. Peregrine is recorded in Cuddesdon a few times every winter. Lapwing can be abundant, I can't account for the absence of this species, when there are several thousand at Otmoor, a few miles away. Perhaps it is just too dry here at the moment? 
     What are the chances of coming across one of the missing three species in a rapid pre-sunrise visit this morning? Incredibly, I am still in the first field when I spot a falcon powering its way north: a Peregrine! Species number 90 for the year, over 200 long days since the last addition to the patch list: 

There was little else to report. Small numbers of winter thrushes feed in the fields, there were no Snipe in the marsh, a few gulls passed over. All the interest, and all the light, was in the heavens:

Moon, Woodpigeon, eclipse:

90 species for the year. How high can I go. 91, perhaps? My kingdom for a Lapwing. 


  1. moon woodpigeon eclipse / Cracking shot spot on

    1. Tom,seen that Lapwing yet?.Just come up past the Mill and in the field opposite the old air-raid shelter there are what look like your quarry. To the naked eye anyway
      Steve Lockey

    2. Hi Steve, many thanks for this - I never thought I would receive bird news via the blog! The Lapwing floodgates opened today (28/12/14) in spectacular style: I saw between 200-300 in various groups passing over between 8-9 a.m, (presumably birds driven in as a response to the cold snap) and it is good to see some have settled as well. Blog post to follow later, all the best, Tom