20th December 2016
During the last few winters at this time of the year the feeders at The Lodge Sandy have been covered in Siskins and Redpolls and even a few Bramblings. This year, however, there have been no reports so I feared the worst when I set off for a visit.
In fact my worst fears were realised when we drew up in the car park and the feeders there were only attracting a few tits and the odd Chaffinch. So let's not waste any time there and have a look at what was going on at the Meadow Hide. Here it was also very quiet compared to previous winters with only a Goldfinch and a Nuthatch to keep us occupied.
Then on to Sandy Heath where the cover crops usually attract flocks of Reed Buntings, Redpoll, Linnet and Yellowhammers. The cover crops were there but there were no Yellowhammers or Redpolls, just a large flock of Linnets and a smattering of Reed Buntings, some of which were more cooperative than others.
There were also a few Stonechats around, but as ever were quite flighty, only posing on a couple of occasions.
But the star of today was the Little Owl which lives in the quarry. Luckily we met David McCarthy and friends who was able to direct us to the quarry and provide a description of the habitat where the Little Owls frequent. Even then it took nearly half an hour of scouring the sandstone landscape before spotting a lone owl settled between some old Rosebay Willowherb stems which partially obscured the view.
What an absolutely fabulous day!!!