January 02, 2006
Willington was wubbish
So, not a bad start to the year, with the notorious Hawfinch safely in the bag, along with a good selection of common stuff. Today, since we were in Bedfordshire anyway, we paid a brief visit to Willington GP, where Darren used to trudge around endlessly (aimlessly?) in search of good birds.
Jackdaw (at last!) and Red-legged Partridge were added to the list on the way to Willington, but a detour down Wood Lane did not bring us the hoped-for Yellowhammer, Little Owl or Grey Partridge.
Sadly, Willington itself was not much more productive, in terms of the year list effort... No sign of the recently-reported Water Pipit, Common Sandpiper or even a Kingfisher. A Water Rail squealed from the settling lagoon (where the Great Reed Warbler was last year) and a handful of Skylarks flew over - none of those seen or heard in yesterday's murk.
The main lake held good numbers of wildfowl (Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pochard etc), but the only new additions were a Great Black-backed Gull and a Redshank.
Obviously, the highlight of the visit was the magnificent sight of around 280 grazing Barnacle Geese - tickable now they've been recognised by the BOU as self-sustaining! A sight and sound to lift the spirits of any birder...
Best bird of the day was probably the Red Fox which ambled across the meadows, ignored by Barnacles and sheep alike, before disappearing, followed closely by the white tip of his tail, into the undergrowth.
Species added today:
65. Red-legged Partridge
67. Stock Dove
68. Barnacle Goose
70. Great Black-backed Gull
71. Water Rail