Monday, 27 January 2014

Tophill Low ducktastic

As it is becoming routine, much to my pleasure, the forecast poor weather with heavy rain failed to materialise, and there was just a very brief shower during my visit to the north side of Tophill Low this morning.
A large flock of Chaffinches were feeding around the car park with Collared Doves, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed.
The D reservoir was teeming with ducks: Wigeon, Tufted ducks, Pochard, Goldeneye, Gadwall, a sprinkle of Teal, two Shelduck and a pair of Mallard that looked out of place.
There was a strange and fascinating spectacle going on by the dozen feeding Mute swans, clouds of ducks (mainly Wigeon and Gadwall as far as I could see) and coot surrounded each pair of swans like flies. The ducks and coot were very busy feeding, so I presume the swans were disturbing or releasing something (seeds? invertebrates?) which the ducks seem to enjoy.
 Here is a short clip:

 In D woods the feeders were busy too: Goldfinches, a Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh tit, and Blackbirds and Dunnock underneath.
 I spend half an hour in North Marsh hoping for an otter encounter. The highlight is a Kingfisher flying away as I open the window, but other than a pair of Moorhens and a Wren on the reeds, there is little else.
No sign of Barn Owls on the scrub either, but as I walk towards the hide on Helmpholme meadows, two Roe Deer cross the path in front of me, just 10 m away. In the flooded meadows, a pair of Mute Swans resting contentedly, a pair of Mallard and Teal. A Kestrel hovers in the distance, and a large flock of Teal fly overhead.
Mute Swan and duck feast
Hovering Kestrel
A more relaxed Mute Swan at Helmpholme Meadow stretching its leg.
Goldfinches on the feeders in D wood
Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull    
  2. Blackbird    
  3. Blue Tit    
  4. Carrion Crow    
  5. Chaffinch 50 +  
  6. Coal Tit 2   
  7. Collared Dove 9   
  8. Common Gull    
  9. Coot    
  10. Dunnock    
  11. Gadwall    
  12. Goldcrest    
  13. Goldeneye
  14. Goldfinch    
  15. Great Black-backed Gull    
  16. Great Crested Grebe 2   
  17. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  18. Great Tit    
  19. Greenfinch    
  20. Greylag Goose    
  21. Jackdaw    
  22. Kestrel 1   
  23. Kingfisher 1   
  24. Lapwing    
  25. Mallard    
  26. Marsh Tit    
  27. Moorhen    
  28. Mute Swan 14   
  29. Pheasant    
  30. Pochard    
  31. Robin    
  32. Rook    
  33. Shelduck 2   
  34. Teal    
  35. Tufted Duck    
  36. Wigeon    
  37. Woodpigeon    
  38. Wren

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Muddy wetlands

Fortunately, the weather forecast of heavy rain didn't materialise, and, although it was overcast and quite dark, I didn't have any rain in the wetlands and little wind. The rainy weather of the last few weeks has left the paths very muddy, especially on the north side. Other than the lady in the Wild Cafe, I had the reserve to myself until about 12:30, when I came across two people in East Hide.
 I walked around the perimeter of the reserve anticlockwise as usual and started and finished in East Hide. The various bird feeders on the east side of the reserve were busy with Siskin, Chaffinch, Long tailed tits, Blue tits and Tree sparrows and Bullfinch.
 Strangely, there were few geese in the reserve today, I saw just one Canada and two Greylags, but there was a large flock of Shelduck and many Redshank around.
As I was photographing the cormorants on the raft in main lake, a bird flew across the lake, a green woodpecker. I saw it again as I left the hide, feeding on the grassy verges of Dryham Lane.
Teal were noisy and displaying in circles around females. See a little clip here of their courtship antics:

A group of Long-tailed tits stayed around the feeders by East hide
A male and two female Bullfinch under feeders
a group of 14 Red-legged partridge by the north hedge
A male Great tit inspecting nest box. It took some nest material out and came back.
Great Black-backed, Herring and Common gulls resting on a shallow area opposite Crosslands hide.

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull    
  2. Blackbird    
  3. Blue Tit    
  4. Bullfinch 3   
  5. Canada Goose 1   
  6. Carrion Crow    
  7. Chaffinch    
  8. Common Gull    
  9. Coot    
  10. Cormorant 2   
  11. Dunnock 1   
  12. Gadwall 20 +  
  13. Goldfinch    
  14. Great Black-backed Gull 1   
  15. Great Crested Grebe 1   
  16. Great Tit   N - visiting probable Nest site
  17. Green Woodpecker 1   
  18. Greenfinch    
  19. Greylag Goose 2   
  20. Herring Gull    
  21. House Sparrow    
  22. Jackdaw    
  23. Kestrel 1   
  24. Lapwing    
  25. Long-tailed Tit    
  26. Magpie    
  27. Mallard    
  28. Moorhen    
  29. Mute Swan 4   
  30. Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) 1   
  31. Pochard 20 +  
  32. Red-legged Partridge 14   
  33. Redshank 10 +  
  34. Robin   S - Singing male
  35. Rook    
  36. Shelduck 45 +  
  37. Siskin 2   
  38. Snipe 1   
  39. Teal   D - courtship and Display
  40. Tree Sparrow 4   
  41. Tufted Duck    
  42. Wigeon    
  43. Woodpigeon   S - Singing male
  44. Wren 2