The weather, in these parts, has been pretty foul for several days now, until yesterday. The winds have been very strong and we've had huge amounts of rain. This has not been good weather for owling. The Little Owls don't like windy conditions, and in weather like this you can waste a lot of time trying to find one. The Short-eared Owls don't like the rain, and they're not too keen on the wind either. On Tuesday 3rd we had some sun in the afternoon after heavy rain in the morning, and I went out hoping to catch the SEOs in daylight. It was so windy that I didn't see them at all (for the first time since the beginning of November!). Their favourite hunting field was occupied, as darkness fell, by a huge flock of Crows that had decided that it was too dangerous to spend the night roosting in trees, so this was not going to encourage the owls to come out either.
Anyway, I digress - Having had my interest in the more common species fired up again by my Christmas Day visit to Cannock Chase, I've been filling the void by visiting a more local feeding station at the old Oakthorpe Colliery. I've been there for an hour or so on four occasions recently. So far, the birds seen have been fairly commonplace, but there has been a very good variety. I've managed to get some images that I'm quite pleased with, but a few others (Goldcrest, Jay, G-S Woodpecker, Yellowhammer for example), although seen, have completely escaped my camera.
Nuthatches are frequent visitors.
|Nuthatch - Oakthorpe Colliery on 28th December|
|Nuthatch - Oakthorpe Colliery on 3rd January|
Reed Bunting are also regular visitors. At this time of year I find myself uncertain, at times, as to whether I'm looking at a pale male or a dark female - I think that the second image is also a male?
|Reed Bunting - Oakthorpe Colliery on 28th December|
|Reed Bunting - Oakthorpe Colliery on 2nd January|
There are plenty of Redwing around, but these are extremely nervous and I've only managed distant shots, although they've been a little closer when they've come for a drink in a puddle!
|Redwing - Oakthorpe Colliery on 2nd January|
|Redwing - Oakthorpe Colliery on 3rd January|
Amongst the other birds drinking at the puddles were a pair of Redpoll. Only one stayed long enough for me to get a (very distant) image.
There are various Finches here, but the only ones photographed in these sessions have been Greenfinch.
The Tits are extremely numerous here, and this used to be a good place for Willow Tit, although I've not seen one here recently.
|Log-tailed Tit - Oakthorpe Colliery on 3rd January|
|Long-tailed Tit - Oakthorpe Colliery on 5th January|