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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hawfinch at Maxey

© Kevin Durose
At least three Hawfinches were seen in late December, two at Ferry Meadows CP and this male at Maxey. This is an unusual abundance of the birds compared to recent years, perhaps reflecting the recent national influx of the species.

Kingfisher at Ferry Meadows CP

© Kevin Durose

Monday, December 26, 2005

Red-breasted Merganser

© Will Bowell
Above all other sites in the PBC area, Deeping Highbank has attracted the most Red-breasted Mergansers, and occasionally even attracts small groups. This bird found by Mike Weedon, was typically skittish and was flushed regularly by passing cars.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Little Egret at Baston/Langtoft GP

© Josh Jones
There seems to be a growing trend of Little Egret records in the winter in the PBC area.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mealy Redpoll at Baston/Langtoft GP

© Josh Jones
Mealy Redpoll, or Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) as it is formally known by the BOU, is a rare winter visitor to the PBC area with most records coming from Woodwalton/Holme Fen area where it is a near annual visitor. Most Redpolls you are likely to encounter in the Britain are Lesser Redpolls (Carduelis carbaret) which appear browner than their pale continental cousins.

“Mealies” often appear quite bull necked and bulkier than Lesser Redpolls. Mealy Redpolls also sport white wing bars rather than the buff brown tones of Lesser Redpolls, there are however variations in both species which can cause confusion. Mealy Redpolls also have a pale, streaked rump with white markings often creeping up the back; male Mealy Redpolls also seem pinker on the breast than male Lessers.

At least four Mealy Redpolls were present in a flock of Lesser Redpolls and Siskins just before Christmas at Baston/Langtoft GP as well as 3 currently at Woodwalton. There have been only a handful of records for the Deepings area in the past few years, with Baston Fen seeming an occasional favourite but one bird even turned up in a Deeping St James garden in 2004!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Red-crested Pochard at Ferry Meadows

© Will Bowell
Baston/Langtoft Gravel Pits has had a sustainable breeding population present for some years now, however they remain a rare visitor outside the Deepings area. Of course we can’t be certain where this pair of females have come from as there are several breeding populations to the south and west of our area, but at this time of year there is always the chance of genuine birds from the continent occurring.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Barnacle Goose at Ferry Meadows

© Brian Stone
We should now be able to 'tick' Barnacle Geese from the self-sustaining category C populations in Norfolk and Beds if they stray our way. Perhaps most PBC birds are from these sources?