Sunday, 17 February 2013

Tophill Low half term ticks

The last day of the school holidays, and a wonderful sunny day with an uplifting spring feel, I drive the kids to Tophill Low. Never underestimate the fuss, noise, and squabbling that three kids between four and ten years old can make at a hide - note to self, must buy more binoculars! After not even 20 min there, and with more and more twitchers arriving to tick the Great Northern Diver in the D-reservoir the hide was full to capacity (sorry guys!). When another birder arrived with a large telescope and positioned himself behind us trying to find a gap in between the kids I thought, enough, time to move on, no chance for the GND. We had a quick snack by the car - it is amazing how quickly snack time arrives when you are out and about with children - and started to walk toward the woods. More squabbling ensued on the way.
We climbed to East Hide, overlooking D res, only two people there, who left promptly. There were so many birds this morning in D res. The ever whistling Wigeon formed displaying circles (top shot), there was also Goldeneye, Coot, Gadwall, Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks and Pochard. A duck arrived just opposite us: a drake Pintail!
Drake pintail

In my next turn with the binoculars I scan the reservoir and in the distance, amongst a group of Coots I distinguish the Great Northern Diver clearly. That was luck when we were not expecting it!

The ducks then appeared to get nervous and large flocks started taking to the air, only the coots staying put. At least it wasn't our noise, a small plane started flying over the reservoirs.
A lull of a few minutes while we watched the birds coming to the feeding station in the wood, and a pair of Roe Deer walking by not 10 m away a magic moment.
We see a group of three Roe Deer by the road as we leave the reserve. One of them starts galloping closer to us.
Just a record shot for the Great Northern Diver

Goldeneye pair
Roe Deer
A galloping roe deer runs toward tree cover

Bird list

  1. Blackbird        
  2.  Blue Tit        
  3.  Chaffinch        
  4.  Coal Tit       
  5.  Common Gull        
  6.  Coot        
  7.  Dunnock        
  8.  Gadwall        
  9.  Goldeneye        
  10.  Goldfinch        
  11.  Great Northern Diver        
  12.  Great Spotted Woodpecker        
  13.  Great Tit        
  14.  Long-tailed Tit        
  15.  Mallard        
  16.  Moorhen        
  17.  Pheasant        
  18.  Pintail        
  19.  Pochard        
  20.  Redwing        
  21.  Robin        
  22.  Rook        
  23.  Shoveler        
  24.  Tufted Duck        
  25.  Wigeon        
  26.  Woodpigeon        
  27.  Wren

Plus three more on the approach road: Yellowhammer, Red-Legged partridge and Mute Swan.

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