Friday, 16 December 2011
Bullfinches at the tip
I started yesterday at Widdrington tip and after a few minutes noticed a Short eared Owl quartering the foot and mouth plantation next to the new road. In the tip itself I came across 4 Bullfinches which were quite approachable and making barely audible piping noises. They looked large but there was nothing to compare them with and all 4 birds, 3 males and 1 female looked the same size. Despite being fairly close they were difficult to photo as they were adept at hiding behind twigs. Other birds here were Thrushes, hundreds of them with Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush. There were 3 Herons and 3 kestrels here looking for voles.
I then went to East Stobswood to look at the Geese but the sun was too strong to have a good look. I then went to Maidens hall lake to count the Geese. I counted 341 White fronted Geese twice but could only see 2 Bean Geese. I went around to the other side to see If I could view them better but returned shortly after and Alan Tilmouth was there. After a chat we managed to see about 12 Bean Geese but there could have been more as many birds were roosting on the waters edge. Also a flock of Pink footed Geese and 12 Barnacles and 3 Bar Headed.
When I got home and looked at the photos I wondered if the Bullfinches were 'Northern' they all showed some features, despite the bright sunshine the extent of the red colouring stops at the belly showing a large patch of white on the flanks and undertail joining the rump above. They all look longer tailed and have a broad white wing bar with the 'saw tooth' secodary coverts along the edge of the wing bar. They all look 'humped back and overfed' and the bottom two pictures show the large extent of the grey upperparts going well beyond the nape and despite shadows from the strong sunlight the extent of white from the underparts wrapping around the rump. All were sporting large conical bills which the bases were lost in the 'fat feathery' face. They were feeding continuously on Birch. Could all 4 be Northerns? I'll wait to see what others think.