2 Feb 2015

Snow Buntings and patch birding.

I took the opportunity to nip up the Wirral to New Brighton Friday afternoon to catch up with the two Snow Buntings that are over wintering on the beach neat the coastguard look-out. With bright sunshine between the snow showers I figured I'd be able to get some decent shots. I hadn't factored in the gale force winds though. It was blowing the sand up a storm and causing bare skin to sting. Luckily I managed to sit with my back to the wind and wait until the birds came closer to me as they searched little wind blown piles of debris for washed-up seeds.

One of my favourite birds and great to see. Wintering numbers in the UK have dropped dramatically and although almost annual on the Wirral they're still a scarce bird. These are unusual in that they've chosen to overwinter at New Brighton - in recent years they've been 'commoner' at Red Rocks or Little Eye.

I'd been planning to make a few more nest boxes from scrap  timber for awhile. Hopefully these will be installed on a local farm near our house so I can monitor them. Saturday was bright, windy and bitterly cold so what better day to spend time outside! I managed to make 6 although one is now installed in Dani  &Joe's garden in Christleton.

Although once again bitterly cold I decided to spend a few hours walking around the local patch Sunday in the hope of  adding a few more species. I ended up spending about 4 hours out and about and walking about 6 miles. I'm glad I did as I found a large Chaffinch flock containing a single Brambling but, best of all, a pair of Tree Sparrows! These used to be fairly common locally and I knew several locations where they could be seen regularly. Unfortunately they've become very, very rare locally.

All in all a productive few days.

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