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February 2006

1st - A cold and raw day with the temperature hovering around freezing.

3rd - A large number of finches were seen up in the trees during the afternoon.

5th - No sun has been recorded so far this month.

Bratt wood - A nice walk, despite grey skies and low cloud. Along our walk we saw a couple of Goldcrests, and another good observation was a Marsh Tit.

6th - Signs of spring continue to increase, with the daffodils now about five inches tall, whereas the Crocus’ are now just coming into flower, joining the already blooming Cyclamens, Snowdrops, & Aconites. The Honeysuckle is also greening now, and buds are swelling on the Flowering Currant, and some of the Clematises.

7th - Over a dozen Goldfinches were observed in the garden this afternoon.

8th - The Siskins made a welcome return to the garden today, sharing the Niger seeds with the Goldfinches.

9th - Wind chill down to under -10 C today. Indeed a few snow flurries in the morning. A Siskin was seen again today.

10th - A dusting of snow this morning.

11th - A Bullfinch pair were seen in the Copper Beech next door, feeding no doubt on the blossom buds. A skein of grey geese were seen by Mum and Dad heading northwards, and flying at a high altitude.

12th, North Cave Wetlands - Another trip to this local reserve, though the weather was rather grey and damp. Wildfowl around in good numbers, with eleven species, including Teal, Pochard, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted duck, & Pochard. The waders were also seen in good numbers with Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, and even a few early Ringed Plovers. In the western alders a few Siskins were also about. A good morning with forty one species seen in total.

14th - Some grey geese were seen heading north west at 9 am. On the feeding station a Siskin was seen, a particularly fine specimen of the species, and also seen was a Greenfinch which had a white collar, presumably just a mutation.

16th - A speckled Jackdaw was seen on the Westwood.

19th, Huggatewold Wood, & Millingtondale - Went to see the Snowdrops this morning in this pleasant and quiet wood. The flowers are not quite at their best, with about 80% in full flower, but nevertheless there was a lovely white carpet in areas. Also along our walk we took advantage of the new ‘Open Access’ areas, and it’s interesting to see another perspective of familiar areas. A nice morning on a chilly and frosty day.

20th - The Siskin’s still around.

22nd - Three Siskin’s were seen at the feeding station today.

23rd - Came across a vixen in the Keldmarsh area this morning.

26th, Northumberland Coast - On the way back from the rugby yesterday we had time to do a bit of birding along this beautiful part of the British coast. However the weather was grey, raw, and blustery which didn’t make for particularly favourable conditions. Nevertheless at Amble Marina Eiders, Goosander’s, and Goldeneye’s were observed along with Wigeon’s, Tufted duck’s, Black Headed Gulls, Redshank’s, and Oystercatchers. We then went down to Druridge Bay, where in the car park a number of Stonechats which didn’t seem particularly shy, and posed for Dad’s photos. Out on the lagoons were Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Tufted duck, Greylag geese, and most notably a Long Tailed Duck, a new species for me. Also seen in the area were Redshanks, Curlews, Black Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, and a Kestrel. A good day after yesterdays disappointing game.

27th - The Siskin’s were regularly seen today, as the weather has turned a little more wintry lately.

28th - A few snow flurries today, with a dusting in the morning. In the evening wind chill dropped to -12 C.