Monday, 8 April 2013

Birding At The Floodgates

Today our U3A bird watching group went out and we were delighted that Tom and Ronnie have joined us as new members. We headed for the Floodgates where the tide was coming in and we managed to see Light bellied Brent, Eider, Shelduck, Redshank, Greenshank, Little Egret, Dunlin, Oysterctcher, Turnstone, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, some of which were in their breeding plumage, Knot, B.headed, Common and  Herring Gulls.

Friends of mine had invited us down to their farm at Barnwell Cottages for coffee.  They are very keen to encourage birds, in particular Yellowhammers to breed on their land, in fact they have won the UK Nature and Farming Award. Last year there were 3 breeding pairs of Yellowhammers.  Michael,the farmer grows a complete field of seed especially for the birds' use and leaves a 6' buffer strip of rough tussocky grass around the edges of other fields, again for the birds.  He has built a hide and also set up a web cam to watch the Badgers at night.  The Cottages can be hired out and these people only have access to the hides and walks and the bird watching is good at any time of the year.  It is not open to the general public.  Viv welcomed the group with hot coffee/tea and fruit cake which was most welcome after having been blasted by the bitter wind at the Floodgates.  More information regarding hiring of the cottages can be found at www.barnwellfarmcottages.co.uk

After the refreshments, we put on our 'wellies' and walked over the fields and though a forested area.  Below is Tom, who appears to be doing the 'birdie dance'!


Everyone had to 'walk the plank today'! And you thought birding was easy!

Today's photos were taken by Isa and she has given me permission to include them in this blog
Finally we arrived at the hide, all the time listening for Yellowhammers and other country birds.  However, it was very windy and we did not hear many birds.  We saw a Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Rook, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail and Pheasant.  I walked across a marshy area to see if I could flush out any Snipe but only a Buzzard flew overhead.  When we arrived back to the cottages, we saw Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit and House Sparrow.  Even through we did not see the Yellowhammers on this occasion, we all agreed that it was good to be out in our wonderful countryside on a sunny day albeit with a cold wind.

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