Friday, 3 February 2012


Lade - 0900hrs - Cold, sunny, ne2 - Another chilly day but without much wind it felt warmer even though the temperature barely rose above 2C all day. Nothing much of note here apart from a few Goldeneyes and Shelducks amongst hundreds of Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler.
RSPB - 1000hrs - Picked up MH and CP and headed for the bird reserve where  a definite influx of wildfowl noted; particularly Goosanders (probably up to 14 on the reserve today) which have been scarce so far this winter. From the causeway road singles of Goosander and Smew on New Diggings while on ARC 3 Smews, 2 Pintails, 10 Goldeneyes, 3 Dunlins, 2 Kingfishers and hundreds of Gadwall, Wigeon and Teal. From Hanson, Kingfisher, 2 Pintails, 6 Shelducks and hundreds more Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Shovler. The Willow Trail produced Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and calling Water Rail, while several Tree Sparrows were on the feeders at Boulderwall.
Most of the ditches and shallow pools were frozen over on Dengemarsh but the open water in front of the hide delivered hundreds more ducks, including 2 Pintail, Dabchicks and feral geese. Also, 6 Marsh Harriers, Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, 4 Stonechats and 2 Great White Egrets flying over the hayfields that eventually dropped in at New Ex.
Onto Burrowes where 2 Kingfishers, Long-tailed Duck and 3 Smew, including a drake, at the north end, while from Makepeace 5 Goosanders, including 4 drakes, and 12 Pintails showed well in front of the hide. At the visitors centre news came through of an odd duck on ARC...
Back at Hanson we had a 5 minute view of a small, dull drake Teal which showed features of Green-winged Teal but without the vertical slot on the breast; it also lacked the white horizontal line above the flanks and showed less buff on the stern. Unfortunately, it flew off over the far side of the lake before we could get any pics or further details. Verdict: probably a hybrid Teal, but hopefully it`ll show again over the weekend for a more protracted view.

                                          Cormorant, sinensis                                          

                                           Goosanders, Burrowes                                        

Walland Marsh - 1530hrs  - At least 50 Bewick`s Swans at Midley plus 30 Tree Sparrows, Buzzard and Kestrel. Checked out one of the harrier roost sites with CP but despite 6 Marsh Harriers in the area none went to roost and we saw little else apart, from a Sparrowhawk and a Snipe, on a bitter cold afternoon. Throughout the day foxes were noticeable at every site including a black-coated individual on the bird reserve and a pair on Walland coupled for at least half an hour...

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