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.
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???
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 :)
Middleham Castle and Parcevall Hall Gardens
2 hours ago