Saturday, February 09, 2008

last TTV's of Winter 07/08

An early start on a clear and sunny Saturday, with the goal of completing our last winter Timed Tetrad Visits. We started at Pitsford, taking a quick walk along the causeway. This mixed group including Wigeon, a Greylag and two Canada Geese were feeding on the grass towards the fishing lodge end of the causeway:














A Mute Swan was displaying on the water:













And on the way back to the car more Wigeon, here you can clearly see the difference between the two sexes:












So, on with the last four Timed Tetrad Visits of the winter (we have to do all eight again in both April and June). The first sight was a Dunnock atop a hedge singing like it's spring. I checked last year's blog, the first Dunnock we recorded displaying the same behaviours was a month later...

We did count a lot of birds today although nothing exceptional. Crossing one field though we noticed something else had been using the bridleway recently, judging by these badger tracks:














The Tetrads cross farmland and then on to the Grand Union Canal. In one spot we saw three Great Spotted Woodpeckers in quick succession, including this male (red bar on head):













Further along the path two Treecreepers playing chase through the trees. They are very hard to photograph due to their being always seen deep in the woods and their habit of hunting along the underside of branches, etc. This one is partly obscured by a closer branch:



















Having completed the nine-mile, six-hour walk around this part of Northamptonshire, we popped down to Ravensthorpe reservoir, to feed the local wildfowl and check what was about. This is an adult Yellow-legged Gull that looks to have started moulting to summer plumage, though it was quite distant:













When we got home we saw reports of a Bittern at Ravensthorpe, but having been blissfully unaware, we hadn't looked in the right part to see it. Humbug!

The last photo of the day is this female Tufted Duck, enjoying the warm sun:












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