Another day, another entry!! Don't worry it won't last. As soon as I get back to work the birding will stop, or at least become alot less frequent, and the blogging will go the same way. So let's make the most of it while it lasts.
This morning was grey and misty, not exactly the greatest incentive to get out of bed, but as I'd volunteered to carry out 4 walks for the BTO's Bird Atlas, and the first had top be completed by the end of December, I thought I'd better get out and get it done. I'm so glad I did, because, as it came light the mist started to clear and although I wouldn't go as far as to say it was sunny, it was definately a very pleasant walk and a good way to pass 2 hours of the holiday.
This year's walk took place in a1km square located around Old Brampton, Chesterfield. I started off walking past Ashgate Hospice and got my first birds of the day, a small flock of 6 Redwing. These were soon joined on the list by 4 Fieldfare and the first singing bird, a Robin. As I left the main road bird numbers increased and I soon recorded my first Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Dunnock. Rooks and Jackdaws were numerous, both species prospecting for nest sites, the former in the tops of the mature trees by the bridle path and the latter around the many chimney pots on the houses. The walk continued over countryside, through several fields, including some that had only recently been spread with slurry- very smelly!! The smelly field were good for birds though with a group of 20 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Lapwings busy feeding on them. After a short time on Chatsworth Road which provided me with my first Collared Doves of the day, I walked back down Storrs Road and Old Road to rejoin the car. The last new bird of the walk was a gorgeous Jay, which flew out of the woodlands just in front of me. Lovely!!
As mentioned above, this walk was the first of 4 for this particular square. I will be doing another in February 2011 and then 2 during the breeding season to see which other species use this part of the countryside. The results will be added to the BTO website and will feed into the new Breeding and Wintering Atlas that covers the whole of Great Britain. If you fancy having a go at this type of bird survey work give the website a look. I can really recommend it.