Saturday 24 November 2012

Before the Rain 24th November 2012

I managed to sneak in a couple of hours birding at Balscote Quarry before the rain set in. A lovely little understated reserve as many of the Banbury Ornithological Society reserves are. This one gained fame when in the next door field a Dotterel spent a few days with some Golden Plovers last Springresting on it's northward migration.Today was very different with everywhere wet underfoot and a dampness and raw feel to the morning. Up to twenty Tree Sparrows were visiting the feeders in little groups and sharing them with Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. 

Thirty plus Common Snipe were resting or feeding in the sedge and grass around the small lake. Very difficult to pick out at first but when one 'got one's eye in' more and more became apparent. Superbly camouflaged and always ultra alert, freezing immobile at the slightest hint of danger. Yellowhammers chizzed away on the top of some nearby bushes and a Green Woodpecker showed it's exotic colouring as it hunted ants in the grass. Stock Doves with heads snuggled into bulging breast feathers sat as if sunk in contemplation. On the far side in the surrounding hawthorn hedge a large flock of around a hundred and fifty Fieldfares chakkered away as they gulped down hawthorn berries. A few Redwings had also joined them and there were four Roe Deer in the next door field

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