Monday, 31 October 2016

Oct 31st Sculthorpe Moor

Pheasant
Halloween at Sculthorpe is no different to any other day. There are no pumpkins, witches or vampires. The only thing that comes close to the horror theme here are the midges and other insects flying at you. But I'm not interested in anything ghoulish today. There is always something worth seeing here. With feeders placed everywhere, it is a great place to see birds of many species attracted to them. You never know, with the autumn we've been having, there's always the chance of seeing something special.

Male Chaffinch
The woods were alive with birds, probably thanks to all the feeders. But despite all of these feeders and visiting nearly every hide (except for one which was closed for maintenance work), I was unable to find any bullfinches today. This is unusual as I always see them here. However, we had more luck with nuthatches, marsh tits and coal tits. At the new Volunteer's Hide especially, we enjoyed incredibly close views of all these birds and more. If you've yet to visit this new hide yet, it is an elevated hide that is at the same height as the tree canopy surrounding it. One side overlooks reed beds and freshwater pools. The best side in my opinion, though, is the side facing the trees themselves. Two feeders hang from two trees attracting a flock of goldfinches, while a feeding platform placed on a wooden beam close to the hide's back windows provided close up views of everything else.

Greenfinch
Female Chaffinch
Nuthatch
Blue Tit
Marsh Tit
Some kind of toadstools
More fungi that I don't know the name of
Birch Polypore (I know this one!)
Sulphertuft (another one that I actually know!)
Common Darter
Caddisfly (I think)
Blue Tit
Though I would have loved the hide to have at least another window or two so that more than just four people can view the birds on this rear side, I have to say that I really like what they've done to get the birds as close to you as possible. Watching them hop closer and closer with caution from branch to branch before taking their turn to grab a seed as quickly as they could before something bigger like a nuthatch or blackbird comes along and bosses them out of the way. With winter just around the corner, the urge to fatten up and store food is just to great to ignore a visit to such an easy food supply.


Nuthatch
Coal Tit

Female Chaffinch

Goldfinches
Marsh Tit
Blackbird with dark bill (possibly from Scandinavia)

Brambling
Its not just the local residents like the nuthatches and blue tits making the most of the feeders, there are also birds from further afield here too. Not only did I hear some siskins, fieldfares and spot this blackbird with a darker bill (indicating a Scandinavian bird), I also saw about 3-4 bramblings at the Volunteer's Hide. There's nothing better than seeing a brambling on a fine autumnal day, but 3-4 of them! Wow! Without doubt the special bird I was after today. A good replacement for not seeing a bullfinch I think.


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