20th March 2012 - Cambridge

Trip to Cambridge

A wedding on a beautiful day provided me with an unexpectedly excellent birding train journey – I managed 16 definite species just from the train, with 2 raptors, a partridge and 3 smaller birds seen but not identified, although Bullfinch and Grey Partridge are suspected.  When coming up to Cheshunt station, I spotted a Black Swan in a lake, which was very exciting but it was an escapee.  The usual ones, such as Canada Goose, Magpie, Mute Swan and Grey Heron were seen, with a few Pheasants lurking in the fields.  A last minute Collared Dove at Cambridge Station brought the total up to 16 for the journey.  I then made my way to the River Cam and started wandering along it.  It was a glorious day and it made for a lovely walk.  I attempted to walk along the east bank of the Cam, heading south, but a few unusual Greylag Hybrids (were they Greylag?  Photo below!) decided they were having none of that and chased me away, much to the amusement of passers by.  I should probably mention at this point that I was in wedding attire, so a bright yellow cocktail dress, which combined with binoculars and muddy shoes was already garnering me a few stares.  I eventually found my way to the west bank and carried on in the footsteps of another hybrid, with trimmed (?) wings.  I managed to quickly overtake him before he also took offence at me and hurried on down the glorious path.  I ventured upon a spot that had a few unusual birds and an hour later, I was still there!  I had seen many of the earlier species seen from the train, but also Chaffinch, a possible Brambling, lots of Long-tailed Tits, a possible Green Woodpecker and an unidentified Thrush.  What most intrigued me however, was the bird I saw as I was departing for the wedding.  I could hear a loud unusual call up in a tall tree and I spent a long time trying to spot the bird.  I eventually caught on to some movement, but I have no idea if this was the bird making the same noise.  What I do know is that it was a bird I have never seen before, a warm slight orangey brown, with markings on the head and most strikingly, the bottom half of his back looked as though someone had painted a chess board on.  I would love to know what it was so please let me know any suggestions!

Train trip

1) Black-headed Gull
2) Blackbird
3) Magpie
4) Moorhen
5) Canada Goose
6) Carrion Crow
7) Coot
8) Greylag Goose
9) Lesser Black-backed Gull
10) Tufted Duck
11) Mute Swan
12) Cormorant
13) Pheasant
14) Grey Heron
15) Mallard
16) Collared Dove

Walk along The Cam

17) Robin
18) Great Tit
19) Blue Tit
20) Coal Tit
21) Long-tailed Tit
22) Chaffinch
23) Dunnock
24) House Sparrow

My total for 2012 comes to 104.

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