February 01, 2006

Pain in the neck

Yes, a Firecrest at The Lodge and so I went off to look for it today. Well, in honesty I was going there anyway to see some old friends.

I love The Lodge- a magical place- so spent a happy six hours in the field sifting through more than 100 'crests in several flocks, darting about maniacally and hovering like overgrown hummingbird hawkmoths amongst the pines- but not a sniff of anything vaguely calling ''zuuu-zu-zi-zi!!''

I couldn't kick up a Woodcock amongst the leaf litter (another target bird) but scores of Redwings were evidently finding something edible
amongst the leaf litter before flying off to cover, giving their sibilant contact calls. The finch flock which had yielded Redpolls and Yellowhammers in recent days contained 130 birds- all Chaffinches it transpired after an hour's close scrutiny.

The muscles in my neck are begging for mercy but I don't mind, I don't think I've ever enjoyed looking through single-species flocks more in my life. The Lodge really is a magical place.

I did manage to get Katie and her colleague Mark a Lodge tick- a handsome Barnacle Goose amongst the Greylags at Warren Villas (which can be viewed from the Plateau at The Lodge). This bird almost certainly came from the nearby feral Willington/ Roxton flock- so is now tickable according to the BOU.

Days like today make me appreciate the worth of just being out there......observing and reacquainting myself at close quarters with familiar species. Every night after a day in the field I think I have a few more answers to our bird mysteries, but upon reflection I actually have far more questions.........

Roll on tomorrow................

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