Saturday, 28 March 2020

Birding in Lockdown - Week One - keep it local folks!

Birding is now focussed on my small, mid-urban estate garden and one short daily walk along the River Ouse south of Bishopthorpe. This is still enough to lift the spirits, with the dry, sunny spring weather a joy.

Most of the time, birding is out of my back window and I am building up quite a good picture of the local garden regulars. Despite the territorial activity going on, at least three male Blackbirds are visiting regularly. Perhaps we are on the boundary of three adjoining territories? One female who I have nicknamed Ouzel, has a smart white throat patch. She is busy collecting nest material non-stop. I am not sure where her nest is as yet. Another more standard female comes regularly, but I've not seen her gathering anything. More interesting records during the week have been a male Greenfinch with a white head, two flyover Grey Herons and a Tree Sparrow.

 Greenfinch and Tree Sparrow

On my dog walk, I am checking a short stretch of the River Ouse and a flooded field at Church Ings SSSI. The water is rapidly receding due to the long spell of dry weather but it is still pulling in a few ducks, including (max counts in brackets) Gadwall (4), Teal (9), Wigeon (2), Shelduck (2), Pintail (1), along with a couple of pairs of Oystercatchers, Curlew and up to two Little Egrets, the first I have seen around here.

Today (28th), along with the female Pintail, there were four spanking Graellsii Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a couple of Herring Gulls, presumably pausing on their way north, due to the fresh (and nippy!) northerly wind. With lots of mud, I think there is a great chance of a Little Ringed Plover or, if I dare to dream, an Avocet, in coming days....!

Church Ings SSSI

We will get through this!

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