In England, during most of November and the beginning of December, we were subjected to a four-week lockdown period, due to a serious second spike in Covid-19 infections. My last blog post covered the first two weeks, and can be found here:- http://peglerbirding.blogspot.com/2020/11/lockdown-ii-pt1-5th-to-18th-november.html. This post covers the second two weeks of that period.
Thursday, 19th November
I'd had a message from our local Forestry England Community Ranger, about a Goat Moth she had found in 2019 at a local woodland site. This was an extremely rare moth in the county, the last record being in 1990 and from the other side of the county. She had recently had a message from the County Recorder to suggest that it would be interesting to have the area surveyed for evidence of its continuince presence. This is most easily achieved by looking for bore holes in tree trunks made by the larvae. This location is quite close to my home, and is one that I had not visited before. The afternoon was fine, and so I decided to visit this day.
Having parked, I set off to wards the area that the moth had been found in, which was some way away, but I was immediately struck by the beauty and potential of the area. As I neared the target area, I stopped to photograph a Grey Squirrel.
|Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) - Feanedock Wood|
|Lichen and Moss? - Feanedock Wood|
|Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - from Feanedock Wood|
Saturday, 21st November
There was much excitement this day when, for the first time since early July, we were visited by a pair of Bullfinch. I only managed records shots, but here they are anyway!
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (female) - garden on 21st November, 2020|
Another exciting day as we were visited by a pair of Blackcap. Sadly, the male was only present for a few seconds, and I didn't get any shots. The female hung around for a while, however, but was not very cooperative photographically.
|Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) (female) - garden on 22nd November, 2020|
|Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - garden on 22nd November, 2020|
We have had a lot of fungi in the garden this year, although nothing at all spectacular. A few Stink Caps have made their presence known although not in a photographable position. Here are a couple of examples of other types that I have no idea of the ID of.
|fungus - our garden on 22nd November, 2020|
|fungus - our garden on 22nd November, 2020|
Monday, 23rd November
The Bullfinches were back this day, and the male was a little more obliging.
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male) - garden on 23rd November, 2020|
|Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) - garden on 23rd November, 2020|
A pair of Stock Dove have recently become almost daily visitors once more. Here is one of them on this day.
|Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - garden on 24th November, 2020|
|Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) + ?? - from garden on 24th November, 2020|
I missed getting shots of the Goldcrest that came in with a mixed tit flock and briefly put a foot down in the Elder in our garden. The flock included at least six Long-tailed Tits and I missed photographing any of those too. This was partly because it was a very dull and wet day. I did get some photos, however. The first is, I believe, of the other one of the pair to that shown above.
|Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - garden on 25th November, 2020|
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (female) - garden on 25th November, 2020|
In the morning, I took some photos of a House Sparrow from my study window. I don't take many photos of House Sparrows but, for a reason that I cannot put my finger on, I quite like this shot.
|House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) (male) - garden on 26th November, 2020|
I didn't see much en route to Saltersford Valley, but was pleasantly surprised when I got there. Having traversed the boardwalk on the off-chance that a late-lingering dragonfly might still be around, I returned to the main path, and was soon photographing a Robin.
|Robin (Erithacus rubecula) - Saltersford Valley|
|Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) - Saltersford Valley|
In the summer, the birds that I'd photographed here were Coot, Moorhen and Mute Swan. On this day, the golden light on the water added to this shot of a Coot.
|Coot (Fulica atra) - Saltersford Valley|
I hadn't noticed the out-of-focus red berry when I was taking this shot, which is a pity as, otherwise, I rather like the light on and behind the bird.
|Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - Saltersford Valley|
|Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) - Saltersford Valley|
My way back took me along Pastures Lane. Soon after setting off a flock of birds flew past at a considerable height. While I was trying to ID these, they decided to give me a clue by forming a giant image of themselves!
OK, so that might have been a bit fanciful. However, they were soon pursued by another flock who had formed themselves into a shape that suggested to me that their purpose might be sinister!
Gulls - near Oakthorpe
|Gulls - near Oakthorpe|
At the far end of the lane I tried for my first Fieldfare shot of the winter. There were three of them but they were typically nervous, and I could not get a clear shot.
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - near Oakthorpe
|Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) - near Oakthorpe|
In order to have a change of scenery, Lindsay and I decided to go out for a picnic lunch, followed by a short walk for exercise, as permitted by the rules of lockdown. As I'd seen on the previous day that there were plenty of benches in the vicinity of the Oakthorpe Colliery car park, and Lindsay needs frequently to sit down to regain her breath when out walking, this is where we went. The picnic was, intentionally, a basic one and we were soon finished and heading off into an area that I'd not visited for probably well over twenty years, although just down the road from us.
I was very pleasantly surprised as, on my previous visit, there had been informal grass paths and I'd had to turn back at one point as I could not find a way forward without stepping in dog dirt - hence my long absence. There were now all-weather paths which, although not totally dog dirt free, were relatively clean. The paths took us to an area of water variously known as Willesley Flashes (this is an old coal mining area) or Thortit Lake.
At first I just saw Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, and Mallard on the lake.
|Goosander (Mergus merganser) (female) - Thortit Lake|
Back home after our short walk, I took a few more photos from my study window. If only there'd been some snow around for this next shot!
We had two female Bullfinches visiting together this day, and I think that this is a different bird to that shown above as it does not seem to have the same extent of scaly-foot.
Robin (Erithacus rubecula) -garden on 27th November, 2020
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (female) - garden on 27th November, 2020|
This was the penultimate day of lockdown, the weather was fair, and it was time for me to make a return visit to Saltersford Valley. On arrival, I made my way directly to the lake and had not been there long before I had the pleasure of seeing a Kingfisher flash through.
I spent some time round by one of the areas where feeders had been set up. There were a lot of intervening trees from my postion on the path, and it seems that the birds were not used to people. I did get a few photos, however.
|Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) -Saltersford Valley|
|Great Tit (Parus major) - Saltersford Valley|
|Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) - Salterford Valley|
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (female) -Saltersford Valley|
|Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male) -Saltersford Valley|
|Redwing (Turdus iliacus) - Oakthorpe Colliery|