Since yesterday I had done my first exam I decided to take the morning off today in order to have a lie in. However, a lie in means you will fail to get a spot in the Library so I decided to spend the day at Orgreave hoping to see some good stuff, such as the snow bunting, while bumping up my yearlist.
I arrived knowing the bunting was with skylarks and began my search for birds. First yeartick was Meadow Pipit, the second was Gadwall and also Coot, Wigeon and then Skylark. There were an awful lot of Skylarks and the first 2 groups I came to did not have a snow bunting in them.
Half way round the first pond I saw a flock of waders heading towards me. As they approached I could see that they were Golden Plover, another yeartick for me and a really nice species to see. They did multiple loops round, sometimes right over my head and I was able to get a record shot.
In total there were well over 100 skylarks on site, but I finally managed to find the flock with the Snow Bunting in, though I only managed to pick it up while it was in flight. As soon as I picked it up on the ground it was flushed by a dog. I then had to follow the flock round, but only being able to pick up the bunting in flight. It took a while but I finally found it on the deck at the side of the pool, though it was a distance away and the photos I got reflect that. However, I always love to see Snow Buntings and its a site tick, as well as a yeartick.
There were 2 Skeins of Pink-Footed Geese that went over while I was there. The second Skein I saw go down on the plains. There were less than 50 birds in the skein, so when I rounded the corner to the plains I was surprised to see at least 200 birds grazing there. I could have got much closer but did not want to upset them as they had been brought down by the fog.
The second most surprising yeartick of the day was a smashing Stonechat that was in among the small trees along the side of the large pond. It looked very smart in the snow, though the photos are not exceptional they are still look rather nice with the white backdrop.
It was quite a day thats for certain, one of the best days birding I have had at the site. As I was heading off back along the edge of pools I picked up another yeartick when 5 Snipe flew down, and though my attempts to locate them on the deck on resulted in them being re-flushed they were great to see.
The Pinkies were also flushed, though by what I'm not sure but they must have done a loop round as the another flock of a similar size came up from the south when the grazing birds had gone north, and it would make sense for them not to go far in the fog. They flew very low over my head, so I took a couple of shots.
I mentioned earlier that the stonechat was only the second most surprising yeartick. The most surprising was as I was leaving the site. I decided to go for a wee in the bushes before my long bus journey home. As I rounded the small pond with the trees behind I spotted something running very oddly across the pools and immediately recognised it as a Water Rail, only my second ever and the first for 5 years. I was buzzing but it scuttled off into the bushes before I got my camera out and my attempts to refind it failed. That really was the icing on the cake, and probably the best bird of the day, even beating the bunting.Species List:
Orgreave Lakes: House Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Coot, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Skylark, Goldfinch, Lapwing, Reed Bunting, Golden Plover, Pochard, Stonechat, Mute Swan, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Linnet, Goosander, Moorhen, Blackbird, Herring Gull, Snow Bunting, Water Rail, Black-Headed Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Mallard, Robin, Magpie, Feral Pigeon, Snipe