Today's reserve failed to live up to the quantity and variety of species compared with more than 2 years ago and further back in time. However, there were Pochard, Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks, a Great Crested Grebe and an obscene number of Coots from the first hide.
Smew (drake) [2nd winter?]
The walk down the green tunnel yielded very few birds, although plenty of shy Redwings could be seen leaving the tree-tops as we made our way over the yellow leaves. There was nothing at all to see at the new hide, but when we reached the embankment we could see some Wigeon as we looked West.
From the rickety hide we saw the same species as the first hide, but we did get a much better view of a female Goldeneye. Meanwhile Aileen manage to photograph a Goldcrest directly outside the hide, which was in the company of some Long-tailed Tits
All remaining pics (c) 2012 Aileen Urquhart
Cutting across the meadow I heard and then we all glimpsed a Willow Tit. There were calls of a Bullfinch and some of the afternoon session managed to get their binoculars on a stunning male, but he quickly flew off again.
When made our way to the deeper pools and on here were at least 3 drake Goldeneyes, and some Tufted Ducks. A flock of Goldeneye could just by made out through the hawthorn hedge as they flew past, and with them was a drake Smew. Unfortunately, it spotted us, and flew away again. However, luckily for us it alighted directly in front of the final hide.
Some of us were able to sneak up to the hide and carefully lift up the flaps to get a better look. It was an extremely nervous bird and almost immediately swam towards the channel leading out of this pool. It must have later flown away from the main water while no one was looking, as it later turned up on a lake a quarter of a mile away.
Drake Smew [White Nun] (c) 2012 Tony Robinson
The Smew was replaced by a pair of Great Grested Grebes, which came and fished for both groups. Both sessions also had very good views of a female Kingfisher from this hide, especially the afternoon gang, as it perched within about 6 feet from the hide. It was an excellent way to bring the Wednesday Autumn sessions to a conclusion.