Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Big Garden Bird Watch

It was the Big Garden Bird Watch on the weekend. So I thought why not come along andCoventry D50  29-01-2011 13-21-01 help support the RSPB in this great event which was held at the nearby Longford Park.  According to the flyer, the Park Rangers will be around to guide and assist and we could also help contribute to local Coventry records with the variety of birds living within the park. Volunteer surveys like the Big Garden Birdwatch was the first to alert the RSPB to the decline in much-loved birds like house sparrows, song thrushes and starlings.These results can help shape the work they do, and to the species and habitats to focus on.

I dressed up exactly like the Michelin man, armed with a notebook, a pair of binoculars and, off course, a camera. I was raring to go and couldn’t wait to do my bit. But there was nobody there. I mean the park was empty. I checked the entrance gate, the car park and the information board. Non, zilch, nada. WTF!!! I didn’t dare to venture far cos this park was new to me. I sat on a bench and checked out the surroundings. A flash of blue flew whizzing past along the canal. It was my first sighting of a kingfisher.

There were a huge flock of redwings feeding on the ground.  There was soo many of Brandon Marsh D50  30-01-2011 13-19-07them that it looked like the ground was moving. But they were quite jittery and flew away as I got closer. A mixed flock of tits and chaffinches were flying from tree to tree. I sent an e-mail to the organiser for an explanation. I’ve  received a reply back. The event did went ahead and 25 people took part. The only problem was the location. There were a few entrances to the park and it was held at the Windmill Road entrance whilst I was at the main entrance, as indicated on the flyer. I did receive an apology. One question? How did the others know where to go???

Anyway, the birds on this posting was taken at Brandon Marsh. We went there on a frozen, bright Sunday afternoon. But first, I was up early to watch the Australian Open tennis finals between Murray and Djokovic. I’m not a tennis fan but I really questioned the Scot's lack of big-match temperament after his third defeat in a Major final. He was again unable to raise his game and showed terrible body language as the match slipped away. Brandon Marsh D300s  30-01-2011 13-32-55He was outclassed and outplayed by the Serbian Superman. I’m sure every one desperately wanted Murray to win. But watching Djokovic's scintillating form throughout the entire tournament, it was really a foregone conclusion. Better luck next time.

The parking lot was quite full when we arrived at the nature reserve. We met Andy and he told us that he’d spotted 2 waxwings but we didn’t see any. :-( I took the photograph of this handsome bullfinch through the window of the visitor centre. The bright orange colour really brighten up the day.

We walked through the sensory garden and a pair of robins were being territorial.  I managed to hand feed one for a short while but he was too busy checking out his territory. We spotted a flock of siskins busy feeding from the fir cones. As we continued walking towards the hide, this handsome buzzard flew right above us. He was flying so low that we could see what an amazing bird it was. Although he wasn’t an eagle, he was still a magnificent bird of prey.

“Whether or not you reach your goals in life depends entirely on how well you prepare for them and how badly you want them. You’re eagles! Stretch your wings and fly to the sky “

~Ronald McNair of the ill-fated Challenger~

Brandon Marsh D300s  30-01-2011 13-35-30

We checked out Baldwin Hide and saw the natives gathering at the opposite end of the lake where Brandon Marsh D300s  28-01-2011 14-36-53the water wasn’t frozen. A twitcher nearly dropped his camera because he thought he’d seen a Bittern flying into the reeds opposite East Marsh hide. I’ve not seen any yet but Babe had seen a few. times. Could you spot the Bittern?  We then decided to walk to the Wright Hide. We walked past the frozen Central Marsh pool and I just couldn’t help throwing a few rocks across them and watching it bounce and skidding away. I just love the grating sound of the stones as it slide across the ice. I know… I’ve still not grown up yet :-).

At the Wright Hide, we spotted a female pheasant, a snipe, a few Shelducks, wigeons, lapwings, swans, gulls, geese, teals, mallards, heron, cormorants., gadwalls, tufted ducks and shovellers  All busy feeding and doing their own thing. We then walked towards the golf course and across the New Hare Covert. We spotted a lot of redwings feeding on the forest floor. It was amazing to watch them feeding and I like the way they suddenly stood erect watching for predators.  We left early cos we need to do some shopping.

Apart from that, I’d a very busy working week. I’d a lot of catching up to do with my 23 Things project. At the moment I’m up to date with what’s going on. Then there was the electronic-book cataloguing training session with GLW using the MyiLibrary platform. The library were purchasing more and more electronic books and journals and I want to make sure that I’m well equipped to do so. It was pretty interesting with a lot of more fields needed to be added to the bibliographic records. 

This week, we’d seen the Coalition government slashing the libraries, the forests, the NHS and even the BBC world service. We were told that there were no other alternatives to cut the deficit. Hmmm, Cameron should remember a quote from an earlier Conservative PM, Churchill. When he was told in 1940 that the budget was to be slashed to finance the war against Hitler, he asked “Then what are we fighting for?” Please remember that Cameron and Clegg.

Condolences to Kay and Andy on the death of Kay’s mother last weekend. Our thought and prayers are with you both.

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