Tuesday, February 12, 2008

12th February 2008

two local sites covered today, on a clear, sunny, mild and spring-like day (after the fog had cleared):

Hackney Marshes 1100-1300 MJP
Fog clearing, then bright and sunny. little wind.

Teal - 66
Gadwall - 19
Brambling - 2
Green Sandpiper - 1
Siskin - 2
Kingfisher - 2
Fieldfare - 10
Redwing - 5
Kestrel - 1
Sparrowhawk - 1
Grey Wagtail - 1
Green Woodpecker - 2
GS Woodpecker - 2

Abney Park Cemetery 1330-1500 MJP
mild, sunny.

Blackcap - 1 male, in song
Coal Tit - 1 male, in song

Entertaining birding at both sites. I rarely get the chance to cover the whole of Hackney Marshes, but with the time to do so today and the weather being so beautiful, I walked the length of the river from bridge to bridge, and the variety and quality of late winter/early spring species were a pleasure.

Highlights included: the wintering Teal along the river, which offer great views as they tolerate disturbance on all sides, and feed / loaf happily just a few metres from the path; two Kingfishers; a Green Sandpiper on the mud towards the southern end; winter thrushes feeding along the edge of the wood, on the playing fields; and winter finches, in the form of two Bramblings, feeding with Chaffinches, and two Siskins in the treetops.

In Abney, a male Blackcap sang from the northern perimeter, showing well, and a hundred metres or so south, a Coal Tit sang from the conifers behind the chapel. It's the first time this year we've come across either species, and the spring-like day was enhanced by the songs of both.