March meanders


A huge circling flock of gulls created a spectacle over the village today and after scanning them to see how many species the swirling mass contained I was rewarded with several common gulls in amongst the black-headed gulls. The gulls didn’t appear to have arrived for a reason and just passed through presumably just moving from one identified food source to another.

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Black headed gulls wheeling through the village like vultures looking for their next meal.

The gulls were a timely reminder to make the most of a couple of hours I had spare and catch up with my WEBS counts and check the seasonal shift in the wildfowl. My first amble took me through early bulbs a colourful set of highlights on an ever murkier day and to the accompaniment of singing robins and great tits. A grey heron and several pheasants were spooked by my approach as were a number of rabbits , the latter of which appear to be making a comeback after the destruction of numbers in recent years by rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD). There were plenty of grey squirrel to who seem immune to most diseases.

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Grey squirrel more likely to carry a decent disease than suffer from one.

The trees on my stroll down to the mere and count were occupied by the occasional song thrush and blackbird as well as bulfinch and blue tits. As I got closer to the water calling oystercatchers were piping and a sure sign of approaching spring as they had fled to the coast over winter. When I reached the water they had made themselves scarce but I was treated to some other courting couples including mute swans and great crested grebes. Goose numbers and ducks were less numerous than they have been over winter but the clockwork teal and dancing tufted ducks again carried on the spring theme.

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Great Crested Grebe soon to begin its elaborate spring courtship.

As I left the site I was treated to a low flying buzzard and the lilting green flight views of a green woodpecker with some background drumming from his great spotted cousin. My next stop was Algarsthorpe with its meandering river and it felt much more wintry with a couple of flocks of winter wigeon with nearly a hundred whistling ducks accompanied by moorhens and some teal and greylag geese. The start of spring proper will see these ducks heading back to north East Europe. I was also treated to more winter visitors with a large flock of fieldfare chuckling away in a large oak tree with one redwing and some starlings swelling their flock.

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Winter wigeon soon to be off for colder climes.

Having finished my WEBS counts I had just enough time for a more local stroll along kissing alley East of the village with the thought in mind that old records highlight the nearby meadows by the Hall lake as being collecting grounds for winter thrushes such as those I had seen earlier. No sign of any thrushes though as I tackled the mud and fallen trees left by Storm Dorothy I was however treated to moorhen coot and a little grebe on the Hall lake which is a bit more visible at the moment with the lack of leaves on trees and shrubs.

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Kissing Alley a sea of mud but with blossom starting to hint at spring on some of the trees

All in all I had a very pleasant few hours away from the rat race and whilst I saw nothing particularly outstanding I was able to savour that moment in time before winter and Spring truly overlap and everything migratory is on the move. Definitely time to get out and about over the next few weeks. Last item of the post is the now traditional video capture which is of a muntjac deer one of whom I caught a rare day time sight of amongst my meanders.

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