Sunday, 14 December 2014

Tadmarton Heath: winter birds and roe deer

Saturday 13 Dec - wonderful, crisp, cold, but sunny day.  Thrushes busy feeding from early on: blackbirds around the village, redwings and fieldfares in the hedgerows.  Low angled raking sunshine across Tadmarton Heath nature reserve, casting a warm glow on the landscape.
Tadmarton Heath
Well stocked bird feeders attract a constant stream of birds, especially blue, great and marsh tits.  A sparrowhawk and kestrel share the same treetop perch, an unusual sight to see these two side by side. The sparrowhawk looks much the smaller, likely an immature male, maybe from this year's nest in the wood.  Soon the sparrowhawk sweeps down from the perch and towards the feeders....

crab apples
The "heath" itself is pretty quiet apart from one or two dunnocks and a song thrush.  A very smart fox surveys their domain from near the top.  The valley below is alive with fieldfares, chaffinches, a few yellowhammers and a slightly shy roe deer.  Crab apples scattered on the ground are well nibbled.

Sunday 14 Dec - with friends at Brandon Marsh today.  This wildlife trust reserve near Coventy has a good variety of wet habitats, with lots of alders and willows, reedbeds, pools and damp grassland.
Brandon Marsh - view from the latest new hide
It also has good cafe looking out over well stocked bird (and squirrel) feeders.  Nothing out of the ordinary today, but good views of a decent sized flock of lesser redpolls, some pink-flushed males
standing out from the crowd.  A bittern has been seen recently but remains elusive.  A flock of lapwings take flight from the main pool and for once the camera autofocus delivers first time!
part of the lapwing flock

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