Birdwatching in February and March

February and March were quiet months for birds. A pair of ravens flew over our house one morning in January calling. That call, together with their dsitinctive wedge shaped tail, enabled our identification. On my way to my new job, a peregrine falcon flew over my car in the centre of the city one morning. Thankfully I was in a traffic queue, so the excitment did not have any negative repercussions.

On the 29th March we went for a walk by Cromford canal. It was very quiet no warblers or migrants, however the pairs of little grebes were assiduously building nests and defending territory, namely a short stretch of canal. All the way along this stretch of canal there is a line of little grebe territories, where one ends the next begins. They managed to conceal themselves very successfully under the roots of trees beside the far bank, consequently most of the dog walkers, cyclists and family groups appeared unaware of their presence.

Beside the malodourous sewage works we found a grey wagtail. I suspect the insect life attracted by the processing faeces is very attractive. On the river, which we had initially assumed was too high, we found a small tributary and there we found a dipper diving for insects in the fast flowing stream. It stayed there for several minutes washing its feathers and preening itself before flying downstream. the only other noteable bird was a treecreeper on the mature trees on the opposite bank. So by the end of March we had seen another three species making my total for the year 123 species.

Wood anaemones were flowering and lesser celendines were blooming in profusion. Whilst the noteable species were few, the commoner species, blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, goldfinches, chaffinches, blackbirds, robins and dunnocks were ubiquitous. All of them were loudly proclaiming their territories or making contact calls so it was not difficult to watch them especially since the leaves hadn’t emerged. Rather a disappointing  couple of months however as the new job and career pressures had left us exhausted and too tired to get out much.



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