I'm not sure how this has happened, but for the moment I am more than happy to potter around the local patch and see what turns up. No pressure, just a nice walk enjoying the fresh air in half-decent weather – recently it has been cold, but dry and bright. A nice change from wind and rain.
|A Great Crested Grebe on Water Colour Lagoons|
The thing is my local patch is doing quite well. As Steve Gale wrote recently here, Holmethorpe has changed quite a bit over the years, some of it for better, some for worse, but throughout its history it can deliver excellent birding, due in large degree to the variety of habitat within its boundaries.
Local birder Gordon Hay has walked this area for more than 30 years, and hasn't lost his enthusiasm for the place. He finds the majority of the best finds on the patch, along with Ray Baker, another local birder who is out most days searching for species. Gordon saw, for example, a pair of Black-tailed Godwit in January, the earliest record of these waders at Holmethorpe, and there have been plenty of good birds since.
Only during the past couple of weeks Holmethorpe, via Gordon, has had Oystercatcher, Mediterranean Gull, Raven, and notably Scaup. The first-winter female arrived on Water Colour Lagoons on February 21, then went missing for a few days before taking up residence with a small group of Tufted Duck on Mercers Lake.
I've been out a few times recently, mainly in the late afternoon, hoping to find a Med or Iceland Gull among the large flock of Black-headed Gull that have been following tractors ploughing and drilling the fields on Mercers Farm, and then scanning the roost on Mercers Lake, but I've drawn a blank each time.
|Black-headed Gulls following a tractor drilling - no white-wingers among them|
|An Oystercatcher on Mercers Lake was a nice find by Gordon Hay|
|The Oystercatcher in fligh|
|Time for bed - sleeping Tufted Duck and Scaup (second left)|
|One of the brief moments the Scaup was awake|
Over the past few weeks the numbers of roosting Starling have been building steadily. We now have at least 3,000 of them roosting in the trees along the Moors cycle path, and this evening I was treated to a wonderful display. I'm hoping the numbers grow even larger.
|The mumuration of 3,000+ Starlings over the Moors and |
Water Colour Lagoons is a fantastic spectacle each evening