I have now been in England for a week. First impressions? More birds than Canada in winter. Small birds everywhere, many Wood Pigeons, and a few Eurasian Collared Doves. On the lake, Black-headed Gulls galore, with lots of Tufted Ducks and Eurasian Coot around. Little Egrets burst out from the banks on occasion, and Blackbirds dart around the paths. Gold-, Bull-, Green- and Chaff-finches litter the skies while Blue Tits rule the bushes.
And they sing. They sing and they sing and they sing. Being a stranger to the songs of English birds is definitely the biggest difficulty you can have here. The Robin’s song has caught me out more than once. A surprising lack of raptors is present, for I have seen but a Red Kite, two Eurasian Kestrels and one Buzzard in a lot of birding time.
Today I went out to a nearby lake, Stewartby Lake. It is the best birding spot in Bedfordshire, with a species list including Caspian Gull, Little Egrets, Yellow-footed Gull and others. We didn’t leave until about 9:45 local time, but we still got a reasonable checklist.
Starting off with a Blue Tit, we walked around the lake with my uncle, my mother, my sister and a dog. Eurasian Coot, Tufted Duck and Great Crested Grebes were he first thing we found on the lake itself, continuing with a million and two Black-headed Gulls. A Kingfisher roared past, and as we followed its path, we hit upon the first rarity of the day – a Little Egret!
After a while, the Uncle, Mother, Sister and the dog left to go back home, but we stayed on for the full loop of the water. Further on, we came across some strange ducks. Mallard sized, they were mostly black, but with a white throat and upper breast patch. Not a bird either of us had seen before. It took us until we found these birds to figure them out: Mallard hybrids!
Continuing, we walked past the sailing club, and found a small dockyard full of birds. by now, the light was too bad for any good photos. My Uncle has lent me his telescope to use as a spotting scope, and it was with this that I saw something behind the Moorhen on the dock – a Dabchick, or Little Grebe!
Nearing the end of the loop, we passed out of the lake habitat and into a more wooded area, where a flash of red led us to a Bullfinch, and as we were leaving, we found a Song Thrush!
In a few days, I shall leave for Cley Marshes, in North Norfolk, where I expect to see a good number of species. So though I shall post then, I suspect that I won’t post again until then.
8 thoughts on “My First Week in England”
Hello it’s Morgan I just wanted say about the comment Ove he will have the English accent when he comes he and I am English so I can assure you that he wouldn’t have an English accent because I’ve lived in england for all my life And I swear to God he would change his accentcan assure you I am moving to Canada in three weeks so I will have to see you then Ethan
Morgan,please use proper punctuation in your comments or it could register as spam. Thanks.
I fondly remember the European Robins, Wood Pigeons, Tufted Ducks, and the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls from my trip to Germany and France last January! I hope you’re having a wonderful time across the pond — I can’t wait to see your next post. Happy new year and have a safe trip home. The birds in Alberta miss you 🙂
Florida has a lot more birds than Canada in the winter as well. It seems a lot of people are travelling this December.
Those are great birds! Did you have trouble identifying them? Even in Florida I had a little trouble identifying some birds, but there are completely different birds there.
Those Mallard hybrids look cool, what are they a hybrid with do you know?
As many egrets as we saw in Florida, we didn’t see a Little Egret 😉
I love the European Robin, and great photo.
Maybe you’ll have a English accent by the time you get home. 😉
Happy New Year!!
Yes, it does.
Some of them. Like I said, the songs are the hardest bit.
It took me a while to remember the robin. 🙂
The Mallards hybridized with domestic ducks.
I went looking for a Great White Egret, but didn’t find it. Did you see a GWEG in Florida?
Thanks! That are such loud singers, and way more common then they used to be here.
Doubt it… 🙂
Same to you!
Aren’t they just called Great Egrets? Yes, we saw tonnes of them. At one place we saw like six around every corner (plus six of every other type of heron that lives there) 😛
If you want to see herons, go to Florida in the winter.. We saw Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, plus White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, and Wood Stork.
We saw fifty species of birds at that marsh (we were there for two or three hours).