"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Local Birding Again and Canon-ball Christmas Pudding

I paid Marsh Lane NR a brief visit yesterday afternoon. As I drove up Old Road I realised there were hundreds of Fieldfares and Redwings feeding on berries in the hedgerow and swirling around in the sky.

I stopped the car and tried to use it as a hide - as you can see from the blurred photos below it wasn't a success!! I couldn't even call them record shots!! Problems were caused by the constant movement of the birds only alighting for seconds on berries together with the fact that they were hidden most of the time by a meshwork of twigs which totally confused the camera's automatic focus!



Leaves on an oak tree were a beautiful colour

Old Road is a public footpath and as I could see a dog walker approaching I gave up on the photographs as it would have taken the birds ages to settle again and went onto the reserve. I spent half an hour in the Car Park Hide.

All the usual species were on the pool or surrounding wetlands - Mute Swan, Cormorant, Teal, Shoveler, Lapwing, Canada and Greylag Geese, Wigeon, Mallard, Starlings, Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot. I spent a lot of time studying the Lapwing flock as a Golden Plover had been spotted recently amongst them but if it was there it remained hidden. Blue and Great Tits and Goldfinches were on feeders near the car park. The Kestrel was hunting nearby - another rubbish shot of it perched in a tree (miles away!!!).

I went a walk along Old Road before leaving but sadly the flock of Fieldfares and Redwings seemed to have moved on. These two species were new for my list of birds seen on the reserve.

Garden Birds

Whilst washing up a few days ago I noticed out of the kitchen window a large congregation of Magpies and Carrion Crows perched in and flying round some nearby trees. There must have been around 15 Crows and nearly as many Magpies - a few are shown in the photo below.

There are quite a few interesting collective nouns for a group of these birds :)

A Horde, a Hover, a Mob, a Murder, a Muster or a Parcel of Crows and for a large group of Magpies A Conventicle or a Tidings!

Although we get up to half a dozen Magpies and Crows around the garden I have never seen so many as I did the other day. It made me wonder exactly what was going on - it seemed like a parliament of corvids. Perhaps they are just bird setting up territories and boundaries???

Christmas Pudding

Just to let you know that the Christmas Pudding turned out fine and came easily out of the mould. Sorry about the plastic sprig of holly in the photo below - I mistakenly thought it would improve the photo! At Christmas it will have a real sprig of holly and be smothered in brandy set alight :)


Countryside Tales said...

That pud looks delicious!

I too saw an enormous flock of fieldfares while out volunteering earlier this week- there must have been over a hundred of them.

I love the collective names for the crows and magpies.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales Thanks CT :) Seems to be a lot of Fieldfares around this year :) They've reached our neighbourhood earlier than usual.

Collective bird names are great fun :) I've also got a book somewhere that gives old country names for bird species - some are truly superb :)

Wendy said...

The Fieldfares and Redwings are back here too - it is wonderful hearing them chatter in the trees again.
I am fascinated by people's sightings of a Parliament of Corvids when one bird is surrounded by others. They are such intelligent birds it could mean so much.
And your Christmas pudding looks delicious!

Countryside Tales said...

And also the names for their calls- my favourite is the Goldfinch's "twinkle"! x

Wold Ranger said...

Birds that never stop moving in thick twiggy hedges &/or trees, as well as the awful lack of sunlight lately are not great for photographing birds so I fully sympathise with your difficulties (most bird pics I took today are far, far worse than these!)

The photo of the 'horde' of Crows is an atmospheric picture and is so typical of this time of year when corvids seem to gather in the woods most evenings.

I like the Christmas Pudding very much indeed :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy Many thanks :) Highlight of autumn for me when Fieldfares and Redwings arrive :) Fascinated by the Corvid parliaments - I must do some research into them.

Countryside Tales - The Goldfinch song description is wonderful :)

Wold Ranger - Many thanks :) especially for empathy re: bird photography!!!! Its very kind of you :) As you say the dull grey weather recently is not good at all for photography. I struggled again today at a National Trust property - even out of doors and we won't mention indoor attempts!!!!

So glad you liked the Christmas Pudding :)

Pete Duxon said...

Christnas ? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon Sorry :) Know its rather early but Christmas Baking waits for no man :) Might be best to avoid next post too :)

SeagullSuzie said...

It's great to see you getting quite a few visits in at Marsh Lane-and such a lovely and bird filled spot too. The photos are good as it shows us what you are seeing even if you can't get the best shot. Fab Christmas pudding.

Dartford Warbler said...

Lovely to see your birding photos again.

We have a few redwing and fieldfares in our New Forest fields and they are helping the blackbirds and song thrushes to strip holly berries out of the hedges.
They seemed to arrive last week, when the wind was bringing them down from the north east.

Your pud looks delicious! Our Christmas cake is in the oven this afternoon......

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie Many thanks for your lovely comment :) Really pleased with this reserve - even if I only spend three quarters of an hour there, there are so many birds to watch :)

Dartford Warbler - Thank you so much :) Great to see your return to blogland :)

I've seen a few small flocks of Fieldfares earlier in the autumn but there definitely seems a much bigger influx in the next week. Glad they've reached the New Forest too :)

I made my Christmas cake today too :) Isn't it wonderful to smell it cooking? :)

Lou Mary said...

Great Christmas Pud! Lots of fieldfares and redwings around here too :)I think your photos of the two are brill! I never get close enough!

Ragged Robin said...

Lou Mary Many thanks for your lovely comment especially about the photos :) Seems to be an excellent year for Winter Thrushes :) I managed to get a photo of a Fieldfare last winter feeding on apples on the lawn which was quite close to the house but again not a very good photo - as you say very difficult to get close to those in the countryside and when you do twigs get in the way :)

Toffeeapple said...

Your pudding looks very 'Victorian' and delicious, I hope you enjoy it.

It seems to me that the only birds I see are Magpies, Crows and Jackdaws nowadays and their numbers are increasing.

The Oaks that I saw yesterday were similar to yours but the golden shade was very slightly pink, they did look magnificent.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple Many thanks :)

I've walked round other smaller areas close to home and only found the species you mention - I think the pools at Marsh Lane add greatly to the biodiversity :)

The oaks are looking so beautiful at the moment. It might be my imagination but many trees to seem to have kept their leaves for longer this year.

Chris Rohrer said...

Birding is addicting and I'm so happy you're having fun chasing the birds! Your common fare is not so common for me.....pretty awesome birds actually!!! But when I'm in a place full of overcast skies, I get frustrated with the photography! Luckily here it's mostly sunny all of the time:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer Hi Chris - great to hear from you again :) Yes, birding is very addictive :) Glad you enjoyed the birds. I haven't had time to visit the Reserve this week which is a shame because they have had some good birds there!

My camera just loathes grey skies and low light :(