Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Sibe That Came In From The Cold

After getting prolonged views of the firecrest in Freeman's Wood again earlier in the week I thought I'd sussed out its routine. It seemed to be favouring the western area of the unfenced wood and was following what appeared to be a circuit, reappearing in the same area periodically.
Confident that i knew what this little gem was up to I went there today, positioned myself accordingly and waited. And waited. And searched. Nothing. It was lovely and calm, there were flying insects all over the place and yet the firecrest failed to show.
Slightly miffed, I set off to check Freeman's Pools. There wasn't anything new to see - the usual goldeneye, tufted duck, wigeon and gadwall, etc. A water rail called from the pool edges.
I headed along the cycle track toward the Wildfowlers' Pools. A pair of grey partridge were lurking beneath the hedgeline but there was little else around.
As I neared the pools a goldcrest appeared in the hawthorns, soon joined by a chiffchaff. A quick check revealed it to be a common collybita. As I watched it flycatching from a small tree another chiffchaff flew in. It was the Siberian tristis chiffchaff. Of course I was without a camera and it performed better than at any other time that I've seen it, perching out in full view on the hedge tops.
I was pleased to see that it was still here, as I hadn't clapped eyes on it (or any other chiffchaffs) since the cold snap a couple weeks ago. Had these birds moved elsewhere temporarily or had they simply become more elusive?
Checking through the masses of mainly black-headed gulls in the flooded fields I was once again disappointed at the lack of Med gulls - often a fair bet you'll find one or two here when large gatherings take to the fields.
I did find one white-winged gull, however it wasn't really what I was expecting. It was a black-headed gull that was almost entirely white with the exception of its black wing tips. There wasn't even the slightest hint of grey in the upper wing or mantle making it appear oddly dove-like! Very odd.


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