Bird Report - December 2019

There is not too much to report this month but I had nice sightings at Sunnybank on the first day of December with a Dunnock feeding on the lawn and a Robin hopping around. It is always nice to see these particular two and, in fact, I was treated to more viewings as I saw a Robin on the 8th, 9th, 12th and 21st while the Dunnock made more appearances on the 16th and 22nd.

During a walk from Newark to the Barns of Ayre on December 1st I could not fail to see a group of Wigeon near the bridge over the burn. These are easily distinguished by their whistling call.

Encouraged by this I repeated the walk the following day. There were approximately 60 waders on the sands, mostly a mixture of Sanderling and Ringed Plovers with a handful of Oystercatchers further along the beach. Travelling on the path the Wigeon were still near the burn whistling away and a small gathering of Greater Black Backed Gulls were on the rocks at the water's edge. A screech announced a Grey Heron which was patrolling the area looking for prey and a few Rock Pipits were, unsurprisingly, bobbing around the rocks.

Looking inland I counted around 150 Greylag Gulls in the field.

There have been noticeable numbers of Starlings around recently, I suspect numbers have been swelled by birds wintering in Orkney. Flocks have been wheeling around - a great sight - before landing and weighing down the Hydro wires.

IMG 3498

(Photo of flock of Starlings at Newark by Gerry Cannon).

There were strong gales on the 11th when my bird feeder blew over trapping a House sparrow. I lifted the feeder to remove the body and was amazed when the little bird flew off! What a lucky escape.

Back to the garden and 2 Collared Doves paid a visit on the 12th. A nice change from the many Rock Doves which are always on the lookout for an easy feed.

On December 15th I happened to glance out of the front window to see a line of 8 Whooper Swans flying by. I rushed to the door to hear the magical 'whooping' sound but they had quickly vanished!

There are still Blackbirds and Redwings sheltering in my small plantation and emerging into the field to feed. On the 22nd there were 6 Blackbirds and 2 Redwing.

Marlene Rorie alerted me to a dead Skate at the Geo which is an unusual sight. Isobel Gardner saw this also, estimating it to be around 3ft. across so quite a size.

IMG 3501

(The photo was taken by Tracy Davies)

I hope folk are continuing to give feed and water to the birds during the winter. Surely spring cannot be far behind as I notice my Snowdrops and Daffodils are poking their heads through - lovely.

Pauline Wilson