Lyndford Arboretum January 2015

We arrived at the Arboretum in miserably wet conditions but organiser Ann immediately came up with plan B. Namely to retire to Browns café at Mundford traffic island for coffee, a chat and to rethink the day considering the rain and forecast. Over good coffee Tony agreed our plans for the August Havergate Island boat trip by which time the rain was easing and we sallied forth again to try our luck.

The hide by the lake wasn’t very rewarding, a few redwings in the trees but very little on the water, aside from a single cormorant and overflying heron. The beach lake held a few tufties, mute swan and possible little grebe, too distant to confirm.

As the rain stopped we headed for the bridge, past the feeders where he had tantalising, very brief glimpses of elusive hawfinch, feeding on the ground just the wrong side of foot high greenery. A helpful birder with telescope tried to point us in the right direction and Peter saw a hawfinch head for 3 secs as it bobbed up, then down again. Nuthatches were busy on the peanuts. Nothing better offered itself to us so we moved on to the bridge.

Ann went ahead of the group and thoughtfully baited the tops of the brick columns on the bridge with mixed seed, which brought the birds to us. We had really close views of blue and great tits with robin, coal tit and marsh tit, all resplendent in colourful breeding plumage. Cameras clicked away but at least one member could be seen stamping feet in frustration as her lens zoomed in and focussed on the marsh tits, only for the birds to flee as the shutter was released. Drat and double drat!

A marauding female sparrowhawk flashed across the scene, no doubt a regular caller at these oft – seeded platforms. No luck on this sweep.

A saunter beneath alder trees at the lakeside yielded a large flock of siskins directly above us, bright yellow males shining in the sun as they hung upside down to tease out the seeds....a lovely scene against the backdrop of clear blue sky.

We enjoyed a super lunch in the Crown Hotel as we put the world to rights. One large, square table enabled all to see each other for a rapid exchange of ideas and thoughts on national issues. We really could not understand what the government is finding so difficult, - we had things sorted in an hour!

Oh yes......the bird species count was 30, not bad considering the miserable start to the day. Thanks to Ann and Tony for organising the trip and to Tony for the photographs.