With this in mind, I've decided I'll go out to my local patch at Rindle Road as often as I can this year, because I missed a few birds last year just by thinking "Oh I'll go tomorrow". Having said that, there's not much about yet, but today I met Dave Thacker once again, who confirmed that in two or three weeks it will be full of activity here.
I started off by going down Moss Lane but only saw a distant Kestrel (it might have been a Sparrowhawk) sitting on the telephone wires at the far end of the road. The ground was very dry around here today and the furrows in the newly ploughed fields looked quite desiccated. As I headed off to Rindle Road a large Carrion Crow flew over my car and landed in a field where another crow had something in its beak. I stopped briefly but couldn't make out what it was, maybe a snail or something.
I went on to park up at the Rindle Road feeding station and I talked to Dave for a while before heading off into Rindle Wood. After he left two Oystercatchers flew over me making their familiar call just as I ducked under the gate and on to the path.
At the feeding station there were a several Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows and a Chaffinch as well as pair of Mallard feeding on the grain and seed remnants. I always mean to bring some bird food when I come here and somehow always manage to forget.
I walked along Rindle Hedge where there was absolutely nothing about until I got to the end where I disturbed three or four Mistle Thrushes that were in the ploughed field. When they saw me they quickly shot off into the nearby trees. I walked back along the hedge and into Rindle Wood in the hope that I might see another Treecreeper like I did earlier this week. No luck there ! All I saw were a two Blue Tits, a Chaffinch, a Yellowhammer and two Goldfinches (see postscript).
Walking back to the feeding station, I spent quite a while waiting for a good photo-opportunity but it never really came. I took some photos of a Reed Bunting and some Tree Sparrows before returning to my car. I did see a Bank Vole swimming in the drainage ditch and it made a big splash to disappear underwater when it saw me coming. I also took some close-up pictures of a butterfly on a dandelion head.
On the way home I stopped off on a side access road to take some pictures of a soaring Buzzard - the conditions were quite good for photography: it was sunny if a little hazy and the sun was behind me. The bird was fairly low down at first and moving slowly in a circle. I should have been able to get at least one decent photo from the twenty or so I took, but I didn't - if you've read my previous post you'll see what I mean about being disappointed with the quality of the results I'm getting at the moment.
When I got back in the car it was a lot later than I thought as the clocks had gone forward an hour today. So I headed off for home to see if anyone else in the family had got up yet.
Whilst looking though my pictures at home, I noticed a bird that I thought was just a Chaffinch when I was taking the photos. On closer inspection it clearly isn't a Chaffinch, but what is it? My best guess is either a Redpoll or a Linnet but the photos aren't clear enough for me to be positive. If you have any suggestions, please write them in the comment section at the bottom of this post. Cheers !
It seems that the bird has been identified as a Lesser Redpoll by none other that the main man at the Manchester Birding Forum, Ian McKerchar. It wasn't the same for everyone however as you can see in the comments under this post which I've transcribed from the Forum thread I started on it