Sunday, 29 January 2012

Draycote Water :: 29 January 2012

This morning I found time to take part in the 'Big Garden Birdwatch', organised by the RSPB. This year was the quietest yet with only: robin, chaffinch, house sparrow, blackbird, woodpigeon, dunnock, blue tit and starlings visiting in the allotted hour. Hopefully, as many suggest, this is as a consequence of the mild winter we are having; it seems to be the main topic on bird forums just how quiet some gardens are.

To cheer myself up I decided to drag the family off to Draycote Water. There have been consistent reports of smew on the water; photos of the male are stunning. On arrival we could see that it was going to be a cold walk but also that there were large numbers of birds on the water, predominantly gulls. Unfortunately we were unable to locate any smew, but talking to others they hadn't been able to locate them either. Goldeneye (female)The species could for the visit was 31, including: carrion crow, teal, black-headed gull, little grebe, mallard, great crested grebe, coot, gadwall, cormorant, lapwing, canada goose, starling, greylag goose, pied wagtail, goldeneye, tufted duck, pheasant, grey wagtail, goosander, red-breasted merganser, great tit, common gull, lesser black backed gull, woodpigeon, rook, magpie, linnet, robin, golden plover and buzzard.

On the way home we warmed up with a trip to Costa - caramel latte ... mmm!

Monday, 2 January 2012

West Kilbride & Seamill :: 02 January 2012

It has just not been the weather for being out while visiting West Kilbride, other than to coffee shops and the Sales. The rain and wind has been constant with full gale/storm force just before the New Year. In the storm we also repaired the garage from the damage inflicted during the storms at the beginning of December.

Today is the first day there has been time and no rain to have a walk on the beach. The wind however is strong - westerly or southwesterly, predominantly 5 to 7, increasing gale 8 to storm 10 at times - making the real-feel temperature closer to -5C than the balmy 5C forecast. The wind of course restricted the birds seen, as did the sea conditions. Still the species count was 28, including: greenfinch, meadow pipit, bullfinch, house sparrow, chaffinch, collard dove, rock dove, goldfinch, starling, rook, carrion crow, jackdaw, wood pigeon, magpie, sparrowhawk, kestrel, buzzard, oystercatcher, curlew, redshank, black-headed gull, herring gull, lesser and great black-backed gulls, gannet, mallard, great tit and blue tit. Hopefully the year will improve from here, weather-wise, and the bird count will increase.