Sunday, 11 May 2014

Long Day Count: SP54

I'm just a little shattered after spending 12 hours in the field trying to find as many birds as possible in one of my local 10x10 km squares - SP54 - in rural south Northamptonshire.  I teamed up with Neil McMahon, who has been counting this square for the Long Day Count for about 20 years.  So I also discovered some new places to look for birds locally and of course we ran into plenty of other wildlife along the way too (but not literally).  We started off at 04:45 in the morning, at which time it was already starting to get light, but the weather was cloudy, breezy and a bit drizzly.  Far from ideal.  But we presevered, eventually saw some sunshine, and ended up seeing a creditable 70 bird species.

Highlight for me were a pair of Mandarin ducks, my first in the local area and at a site suitable for breeding (small lake surrounded by alders).  Several birds had young with them - a family of ravens were leaning to fly from the top of tall Corsican pines, broods of downy greylag and Canada geese bobbed across a couple of larger lakes. 

The only photos I have are of a roosting tawny owl which thankfully allowed us time to grab our cameras from the car before deciding it had seen enough of us.  Those legs are quite long!

My thanks to Neil for leading the count and driving us around, and to the BOS for organsing a fun and useful survey.

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