I was finished at lectures by midday and with the hours getting longer I could spend the afternoon at Orgreave, doing some proper patching and continuing to test the new camera, now that it was actually sunny!!!
By the time I arrived the light was already dropping. I managed to rack up the usuals pretty swiftly but the wind was a major problem and most of the birds were sheltering on the far side of the island. On the island was a nice Oystercatcher, first for the patch this year, and a flock of around 8 Lapwing. There was a decent contingent of gulls on the banks too, but nothing out of the ordinary that I could pick out.
I did manage a long overdue patch tick today though. My attention had been caught by the white rumps of two Bullfinches flying into the bushes and as I looked through the bushes I caught a glimpse of the long tail of the Pheasant that has been eluding me for so long. I have heard this bird calling for at least a year and never been able to spot it. A very long overdue patch tick.
The real highlight of the afternoon was a very obliging Redpoll feeding along the edge of the river. I was able to get very close without flushing it, and so was able to get some pretty decent record shots. Funny that there should only be one, but I thought little of it. When I returned I popped my best shots on twitter as a lesser and thought nothing more of it. Until Tim messaged me in the evening pointing out a few things about it to make it a 1st winter female Mealy based on the age of the bird and a number of plumage features. I just saw it as buff and brown so assumed it was a lesser. Discussion then ensued over twitter with the outcome suggest that it was a Lesser Redpoll. It was something of an education to say the least. I need to continue working on my id of this very complicated group...
So that was a pretty sweet afternoon. A nice way to spend a few hours casually birding and learning.
Orgreave Lakes: Carrion Crow, Magpie, Goosander, Starling, Black-headed Gull, Gadwall, Common Teal, Woodpigeon, Mallard, Blackbird, Tufted Duck, Wren, Cormorant, Coot, Linnet, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Wigeon, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Reed Bunting, Mute Swan, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Moorhen, Mealy Redpoll, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Bullfinch, Pheasant,