Saturday, 23 January 2016

Homing Mistle

I've heard tawny owl several times this week from bed, but it feels somewhat unsatisfying to add it to the patch list without a sighting. Last night, to put that right, I went on a night-walk round the short river loop. No tawny owl, but plenty of eerie noises and sightings of snipe, buzzard and fox. I think this approach will pay off with more than just owls in time, so I'm going to equip myself with a bright torch and keep trying.

Not on the list so far is mistle thrush. It's hard to plan to see mistle thrush (they just kind of show up) but I thought I'd explore a new route for me following the OS map marked footpath north out of the village. I was upstairs getting dressed ready to leave when I saw a reptilian bird descend on the tree in the field behind the garden. Tick; there it was.

I walked the planned route never the less, but it was pretty standard terrain and is unlikely to add anything new to my existing favourite routes. That said, it answered the question of where the roe deer (of which I'm constantly finding tracks for) go during the day. I sighted 6 at once, including this fine, dark doe and buck pair:

A walk along the river turned up nothing new, but little egret, goosander and these buntings were conspicuous as usual, as were another large flock of redpoll.

I always check the fresh alluvium the floods leave behind for mammal tracks and again found five-toed badger tracks. I'm surprised they're so active away from their sett at this time of year and it's a good reminder how unseasonal the weather has been this month.

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