"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

Friday, 20 December 2013

Local Birding

I popped to Marsh Lane NR for an hour yesterday afternoon. It was very cold but good to get out for a walk and some solitude and watch some wildlife. Its probably the last chance before Christmas to recharge my batteries :)

I saw a Buzzard as I drove along the Old Road and there were still quite a few Redwings about - although nowhere near the numbers seen previously. The various feeding stations on the reserve were attracting Blue and Great Tits, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Robins, Chaffinches and Reed Buntings.

The Mute Swan pair had managed to escape the Black Swan and were on their own on a different pool.

This is a rubbish photo with all the reeds in the way but I love the way the swans are mirroring each other's movements :)

And here's the Black Swan - in its usual place on Railway Pool keeping the Black-headed Gulls company this time.

Teal (heavily cropped)

Gadwall - sorry the photos aren't very good the light was awful

Gorse in flower. This species flowers most of the year hence the saying "When Gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of fashion" - which was discussed recently on Dartmoor Ramblings blog.

I was really pleased to get fairly close views of a Water Rail from Oak Hide - unfortunately the sound of the camera shutter sent it scuttling fairly quickly back into the reeds. But it was a new bird "tick" for the year and a new species for the reserve.

I saw 31 species altogether which was quite good for an hour's walk and added Pheasant, Water Rail and House Sparrow to the list of birds seen at the reserve which I am keeping. The list now stands at 46.

To change the subject completely we've finally got round to putting up the Christmas Tree. I do have a much smaller, real one which lives outside in a pot on the patio all year and I only bring it in a few days before Christmas as it doesn't seem keen on the central heating and I would be very sad if I lost it as we bought it as a little tree about 6 inches high when D was a baby.

Here just for CT is a photo of the original fairy looking rather lopsided at the top of the tree!!! Again I bought this for the tree when D was a baby for his first Christmas.

It appears it no longer has a competitor for pride of place at the top of the tree as E's very modern, large fairy appears to have disappeared! Last Christmas B started decluttering in earnest by announcing that we could only keep the Christmas decorations that would fit in one large storage box and I fear E's fairy was one of the casualties and found its way to a charity shop as she declared she wasn't particularly bothered about keeping it. I suspect it may turn up somewhere hidden at the back of a cupboard as I have a feeling I didn't want to throw it away for sentimental reasons and usually when this happens I retrieve items from the bin bag when no-one's looking :)!!!


Countryside Tales said...

Beautiful Water Rail- I've never seen one before, and lucky you seeing greenfinches- ours have all disappeared.
I LOVE your elderly fairy! And the tree looks lovely too. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales Thanks CT :) Water Rails can be elusive - its the first I've seen this year. I was pleased to see the Greenfinches as we get very few garden visits these days too :(
Glad you like the fairy!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Nice one, Caroline. Water Rails are one of my favourite bird species.

All the best to you & yours for xmas & the new year.

SeagullSuzie said...

I'd say 31 species is great during one hour. It's lovely to know you are enjoying Marsh Lane as much as you hoped. The black swan looks so dramatic in size and colour mixed in amongst the others. The Water Rail is beautiful and so is your Christmas Tree.

Dartford Warbler said...

I love the Water Rail. It`s years since I have seen one.

Ragged Robin said...

Dean Stables Many thanks Dean - they are rather special birds :)

Thank you for your good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. My very best wishes to you for Christmas and I so hope 2014 is a much better year for you.

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much - so pleased about the Reserve and it holds so much promise. I can't wait for the Spring and Summer :)

Dartford Warbler - Many thanks. I haven't seen one for a few years - last time I think was at Ladywalk NR where one used to come and feed under the bird tables :)

Chris Rohrer said...

Epic shot of the Water Rail!!! You should be very proud of that one! Seriously, they are difficult birds to capture out in the light of day. I'm so glad you're counting birds on this lovely patch. If you haven't done so, I'd encourage you to check out Ebird. I know some people have strong feelings one way or the other about the program but the data is invaluable to Ornithologists....PLUS it keeps track of your lists and birds. It has also made me a better birder. Thanks for sharing your walks. Very nice finds!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris for your lovely comment :) It was such a shame I was sat in the middle of the hide looking out over the water when the Water Rail appeared in a channel to the right. If I'd been at the side of the hide I might have got a slightly better photo!!

Thanks for the suggestion re Ebird I will certainly check it out. I've seen it mentioned on your blog but assumed it was for birders based only in USA.