Birdwatchers at the feeding tables in Fairfield have been enjoying the spectacle of large numbers of Chaffinches, whilst trying to spot the small number of their close relative the Brambling.
Probably about half the Chaffinches will be migrants, mostly from Norway and Sweden. They migrate mainly by day but rather than heading directly to Britain they fly south-west to cross the Channel from France, Belgium, and The Netherlands. This avoids the longer crossing of water over the North Sea.
The Bramblings we see in Britain are almost entirely migrants, mainly from Scandinavia and Finland. Unlike the Chaffinch they migrate mainly at night and head directly for Britain, crossing the North Sea on a broad front.
The Bramblings and migrant Chaffinches will probably begin returning to their breeding grounds in early March.
There were at least 300 pink-footed geese drinking from the ponds in West Field this afternoon. Quite a sight!
There were 7 teal in Cromwell Pond this afternoon.
Multiple skeins of geese (someone will have recognised them by their calls but not me, sorry) flew south over the reserve this morning, and at 12.15 four buzzards were circling and calling over the allotments and no doubt making sure the Wednesday Work Group left on time and locked the gates properly.
A large flock of goldfinches were feeding on the thistles by the Aldcliffe Road ponds. Photo attached.
There was a family of treecreepers in Pony Wood yesterday.
Five large skipper butterflies in SE corner of Arable Field.
There were hundreds of whirligig beetles (Gyrinus natator) on the surface of the Aldcliffe Road ponds this afternoon.
Common blue and blue-tailed damselflies were egg laying in the new ponds today.
Look out for Dan’s winter bird count and Rob Zlock’s diptera survey on the website. Now follow the link to the surveys directly from the home page.