Saturday, 30 October 2010

Golf Course Birdie

It got light today, for a change, and despite the weather forecast, the wind was just a gentle breeze.

There were a lot of thrushes around, mainly Redwings and Blackbirds and in Farm Wood a nice mixed flock of tits and crests. Among the Goldcrest we picked out one Firecrest.

There were a good number of Long-tailed Tits, most like the one above looked quite normal "British" birds, Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus, but one seemed to have a broader white crown stripe and whiter cheeks. We wondered if this was the race A. c. europaceus that breeds in France, Germany and Italy. I don't know if they are prone to wander, but Scandinavian birds of the race A. c. caudatus do occasionally occur in the UK, so it might be possible.

By the golf course I flushed a Long-eared Owl as I was walking through the rough grass by the foot path. Unfortunately I rather messed up the flight photos as I seemed to be all fingers and thumbs.
Short-eared Owls are resident in small numbers in the UK, but this population is supplemented in the winter with birds from Scandinavia and northern Europe. The numbers are variable and depend on the population fluctuations of Lemmings. When the Lemming numbers drop as they do every few years far more Short-eared reach the UK. In addition a Lapland Buntings flew over, possibly the same one as a few days ago.

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