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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Smew causes rapid cold weather movement

I spent a couple of hours Saturday stoically trudging through the snow on a circuit of the patch. It was largely very enjoyable, even stumbling down a section where it was deeper than my wellies. Ladies Pool continued to disappoint given its a stretch of water that remains unfrozen. I did however hear a Tawney Owl call, which made up for the lack of a decent duck.
I encountered 3 Siskin flocks during the walk, the second one c70 large. Associated with the third one were good numbers of Goldfinch on Barnet Brook and a single female Brambling
I was also accompanied for a while by a Female Kestrel, who perched up at one point quite close. Down on the paddocks I stumble upon a finch flock feeding quite close. Unfortunately some walkers coming up behind put them up all to quickly, but not before I had picked out a few Linnets...the first on the patch for a good few months,and nudged my patch Footit list up to 54 for the month.
Being as stiff as an old horse the next day from my snowy exertions, and with snow falling steadily non stop, I decided to earn some brownie points and help with the weekly shop. However, shortly after getting back around lunchtime, news came through of a Smew down at Grimley. I had ignored the news about a Grey Plover there earlier, but a female Smew was more than I could resist, so I cashed the points straight in, jumped in the car, and made the 20 minute trip to one of my favourite birding spots.
The Snow fell relentlessly, and I admit I don't really like birding in precipitation. It was only my second Smew, the last one just over 2 years ago at Bewdley, also in snow. The Grey Plover showed well enough too ( the second one I have seen on that site in under a year).I picked up a nice male Goldeneye and a Dunlin too, but I didn't linger, a record shot would have been crap in that light and at that distance with snow falling, not worth getting the camera wet for. There was also a Sanderling on site, but I couldn't connect with it in the few minutes I tried. On the way home I dropped into Brakemill Pool, and nabbed a female Goosander. For a time of year that traditionally can be pretty dreary birding wise, this weekend turned out pretty well !

Grey Plover Grimley 2012 


  1. A few goodies there for you Mark!

    Can you please return the female Goosander you nabbed from Brake Mill Pool, a male Goosander I saw there a week ago will no doubt be waiting for her to return! ;-)

  2. I make no apologies Pam, desperate times require desperate measures, I want one on my patch list for January !! :@)