Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Local Doings

The last few days of local birding have been both fun and pretty rewarding. On Saturday afternoon I took a walk from home, north up the River Asker valley to a picturesque old mill in the middle of nowhere. The highlights were very modest, but included a few Meadow Pipits, 250+ Redwings in two flocks, four Little Egrets and a fly-by Peregrine, my first of the year...

Redwing. 150 of its mates just out of shot.

Meadow Pipit

Little Egrets still have a tiny bit of novelty appeal when they're along the local river.

Peregrine in all its miniscule glory.

A single Common Gull was actually quite notable at this location.

Mistle Thrush at Mangerton Mill Lake

Since then there have been efforts to add Golden Plover to my #LocalBigYear tally (fail), a fourth Marsh Tit and a handful of Corn Buntings...

Marsh Tit near Powerstock Common

Uncooperative Corn Bunting near Eggardon Hill

Which brings me to today.

This morning I was kindly invited to accompany a local birder on one of his periodic visits to census a wintering flock of Woodlarks. The count was 18 (there have been as many as 22) and as they flippety-flopped around for a minute or so before resettling, there was a chance to get some ropey flight shots...

Six of the 18 Woodlarks. This shot captures their distinctive jizz quite well. Broad wings and short tails.

Having a wander nearby for a bit produced a nice flock of c200 Chaffinches - sadly Brambling free - and another opportunity to photograph thrushes badly through gaps and behind twigs...



It is fair to say that without assistance I would never in a million years have discovered those Woodlarks for myself, and anyway, they are on private land. I am increasingly coming to appreciate the quality of birding available on my doorstep. The local countryside is not all wonderful by any means, but there are lots of little pockets here and there, if you know where to look. And again, I was kindly pointed towards another in my so-far-unsuccessful search for Woodcock. So this afternoon I tried it...and found FOUR! Winner!


  1. Great going Gav. Yes a bit of local knowledge and assistance from those in the know can really help things along. My first Brambling came from as such.

    1. So true, Ric. And I'm not averse to the odd shortcut!