After a lengthy hiatus, I made a much-anticipated return to birding today with a visit to Old Moor, my ‘home’ RSPB reserve.
It was a fairly grey January afternoon when I arrived, not too cold, but with the chance of snow having been forecast, I kept a keen eye on the weather.
I began my visit in the Bird Garden where I was able to add several birds to my 2019 Yearlist: Bullfinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch were in evidence along with the usual suspects of Great and Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Stock Dove and Woodpigeon. The light wasn’t brilliant, but I enjoyed snapping some fairly close-up images of a beautiful-looking Male Bullfinch, a species I hadn’t seen for a good while.
Moving over to the Tree Sparrow Farm, I found it to be rather quiet here this afternoon. Another pair of Bullfinches were frequenting the feeders, whilst scratching-about on the ground below the feeders were a few Chaffinch, Dunnock and a solitary, female Reed Bunting.
I decided to walk up Green Lane, stopping first at the Family Hide. Again things were very quiet here, but I was able to add Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Cormorant to my Yearlist.
By the time I arrived in Field Pool West Hide, I was beginning to realise that a pattern was emerging – not many birds about on the water today. From here I watched a Cormorant make a splash as it glided into land on the water some distance in front of me. The only other birds I saw here were a couple of equally-distant Lapwing.
I spent some time in Wath Ings talking with Andrew Leggett, who does the Old Moor blog. He’s a great font of knowledge on all things birding. He told me that he had been to Rufford Park that morning to see a group of Hawfinches in the trees by the car park. Rufford is well-known for its Hawfinches, and I resolved to visit there myself on the very next sunny day we get!
There was a group of six Goldeneye on the mere at Wath Ings, but unfortunately I couldn’t spot them myself as they were too distant, and the light was fading fast by this time. Andrew’s parting-shot for the day was a ‘heads-up’ about a solitary Green Sandpiper which had been on the mudbank in front of the Family Hide earlier in the day. Thinking I must have missed it, I stopped in the Family Hide again as I returned down Green Lane. Sure-enough, the bird was there, although it took flight almost as soon as I’d spotted it! However, a glimpse was all I needed to add another bird to my Yearlist.
I was really glad to get back to Old Moor today, and hope that I’ll soon be back to making regular visits to all my favourite Birding sites. Helen and I have a Norfolk weekend booked for March, so Titchwell Marsh will definitely be high on our list of priorities for that. Roll-on some longer days and sunny ones at that!