Sunday 5th April 2009
Steve Cawthray had arranged a visit to private woodland on information that Lesser spotted Woodpecker had been seen there regularly in the winter. As both of us had failed to find this species elsewhere in the County it had to be worth a try. After about half an hours searching Steve heard a Lesser spot call and then located a male high up in the canopy. Lesser spotted Woodpecker(132) was the last resident breeding species I needed for my annual County list. We later saw a female, again high up but showing well preening in the sunshine. A brilliant start to the day but what to do next? Lee Johnson had texted me that there was a Rock pipit at Draycote but having had a good day there yesterday and knowing what the visitor numbers would be like on a sunny Sunday I was reluctant. With no obvious alternatives, however, I ended up at Draycote making my way to Toft through swarms of small children and large mosquitoes. At the hide the Teal including the Green winged Teal were considerably more obliging than the previous day feeding on insects on the open water. Dave Hutton had just taken his 1000th shot as I got there a momentus moment. Tell you what, Dave's got great ears. I mean they're well tuned in for Birding. He heard the sub-song of a Willow warbler(133) in Toft I couldn't hear a dam thing. Well impressed I was. Amazing the interest this Willow warbler, commonest warbler in Western Europe, caused. Even birders as far away as Staffordshire were there. The first of the year of any migrating species is always great to see though. The fishermen were on their best behaviour keeping well out of the conservation area. In all aspects of life, including Birding, its the odd one or two who step over the line and spoil things for everyone else.
On the way back there were a number of Meadow pipits and a couple of Yellow Wagtails in the 'cow field', if the Rock pipit was still around there was a good chance this is where it would be. It was hard work with only bins so I flagged down a passing Birder to have a quick scan. With the scope it was relatively easy to pick out the Rock pipit (134) on size and colour. The bird also had a striking head pattern, reminisent of a Redwing, quite unlike the Rock pipits I see around the coasts.
In response to the comedian who was surprised I wasnt eating a Pork pie today I must stress I don't eat Pork pies all the time(they're not the healthiest of foods) just most of the time. Yesterdays Sercombes pie was made at Newbold just up the road from Draycote. Quite tasty but soggy pastry and large lumps of fat.