This week we managed to escape from the madness of Christmas for a morning and paid a quick visit to our local patch in England. It was nice to walk through the trees and look at the regular visitors to the bird feeders, including Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, and a female Pheasant making the best of the free food. At the first lakeside hide, through the mist, we could just about make out a few ducks (Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Gadwall, Teal), along with Canada Geese, Mute Swans and Great Crested Grebes. There is an area of reedbeds in front of the hide and I was just thinking that we could see a Water Rail here when John whispered and pointed to one just below us! We watched it as it caught a fish and paddled about in the water, giving some of the best views we have had of this bird. Great! The only negative was that we had forgotton to bring the camera with us, so we missed a really good photo opportunity! After visiting a couple more hides, we returned to the first woodland hide where we had excellent views of a Wren, another bird we don’t often see well. After that it was time to return home to warm up, and for me to get on with some more Christmas preparations.
The following day we set off to visit John’s Mum in Stone. On the way up the M6 we saw a Buzzard perched in a tree and there were plenty of Lapwings on the many flooded fields. From John’s Mum’s kitchen window we watched Bullfinches, Goldfinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long tailed Tits along with Nuthatch, Robin, Blackbird and a Collared Dove visiting her feeders. On the way back down the M6, in the semi-darkness a Grey Heron flew over the motorway.
While staying with my Mum in Wolverhampton we noticed there were six to ten Blackbirds feeding in the garden and the neighbouring gardens. There also seem to be plenty of House Sparrows around which had previously disappeared for a few years. There are also quite a few Magpies which nest in the area, much to my Mum’s disgust!