Friday, 30 November 2012

SUMMER LEYS 30-11-12

Bloody foreigners, coming over here in their thousands, nicking our berries and cramming into all the best bushes and tree, just who do they think can just imagine how angry an EDL member would get if they realised that loads of over-wintering birds come on in from Europe and they don't have a job! I really struggled to get out of bed this morning, frost everywhere, my bed was just to warm, I fumbled for the remote and switched the TV on, so reporter banging on about the Levenson report, not actually reporting on the story but as usual offering up opinions, exactly when did reporters change from telling a story to offering us their opinions? Sod this, it was the motivation I needed and got out...thanks Mr.Levenson. It was a bit cloudy one minute and a little sunny the next minute, so wrapped up like a Yeti in thermals I hit the road, apparently today is the last day of shit. As I pulled into the carpark at Summer Leys I noticed or heard Golden Plovers and Lapwings circling overhead and a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by two crows, all very distant but at least the water level had dropped. I opted to walk around to the Paul Britain hide apart from doggies everywhere and them 'orrible plastic bags in the bushes it was for a change a pleasant walk, with plenty to see. First up were loads of Reed Buntings, Greenfinches, Yellowhammers and a few Linnets in the set aside in the Pete Wilds field an ELS scheme that is working, with a very mobile flock in and out of the set aside, sadly it was overcast at this point so any flight shots were out of the question, what was amusing was watching a Kestrel being mobbed by a solitary Greenfinch, I checked the Kestrel to make sure it hadn't predated another finch, it hadn't, just a brave/stupid Greenfinch. Also along the footpath was two Goldcrests and just four Redpolls on the Alder trees. But what was also apparent was the number of Fieldfare and Redwing.

Every time I got within range to get a decent image they flew off towards the Paul Britain hide, so I opted for the hide as the best bet to get any images. I went upstairs and sat down, I didn't have to wait to long for the Fieldfare to settle into the trees just behind the hide, portrait images only due to rubbish light, but I just couldn't believe how many there were. But it wasn't just Fieldfare and Redwing representing a foerign invasion, Blackbirds, everywhere, I counted 26 in one small mobile flock! Ok they aren't going to make it onto any bird reporting system but it was impressive seeing so many in one spot. Now I don't know if the following is true as I was told this by a "wind-up" merchant, but apparently Blackbirds from the continent have solid black bills, is this true or have I been "had" again? However all of the Blackbirds did have a solid black bill and were very approachable. Whilst sitting in the hide I also got a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a very highly cropped image below (sorry about the quality). Wildfowl wise there was Widgeon, Teal and Shoveller but they weren't flying around and remained fast asleep on one of the islands. I did spot some Goldeneye also several Wrens scattered around at various spots. To be honest I was quite chuffed with the days birding down at the pit I was expecting a lot worse given the weather during the past that's a first, a positive post about Summer Leys it must be coming up to Christmas!


  1. Lovely set of pictures Doug.

    Black billed Blackbirds; hmmmmm. I heard that they were continentals too. I also heard that young ones have black bills. Still none the wiser myself, but I think it's fair to say that the majority of them would be foreigners.

    1. Yeah first "winter" blackbirds have a black bill, I did hear about continenatal blackbirds from Ben the Plumber so am very sceptical :), the odd thing was how they were flocking together as Blackbirds typically aren't a flocking bird I thought at first they were starlings due to distance and being in a flock, it was only when they landed nearby I was surprised.