Wednesday, 9 January 2013


As we drove towards today's location many of the fields were under water. This would later come to haunt us. The morning started well with a Mistle Thrush and a Treecreeper singing outside the visitor centre. As we moved off we saw a pair of Siskins feeding on the alders, and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in a nearby Poplar tree. Then came a long period of virtually no bird song and empty lakes and marshes. This dearth was remedied when we reached the hide overlooking the apparently almost empty reservoir. Here were several Great Crested Grebes and in the afternoon 5 drake Goldeneye displaying to 3 females. There were also plenty of Wigeon, and Tufted Duck, plus a few Pochard. 
Record Shot of Great Grey Shrike (c) 2013 Tony Robinson
 Lesser Redpoll (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart
We walked through woodland and then scrub to another hide. This is normally the most productive hide at this time of year, but at first it seemed there were only plenty of Greylag Geese. A closer inspection revealed the odd Goldeneye, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard and wigeon, but the numbers were definitely down. The reason for this is the birds are normally concentrated on the lakes and reservoirs in the area, but now that they have so much flood water to chose from then they have become scattered throughout the surrounding water logged fields.
On the return journey we stopped off at South Lagoon and were rewarded with several views of a Kingfisher flying past the hide. A few minutes later we had close views of 4 rather drab Lesser Redpolls. In the end 5 birds flew off, but whether the 5th bird was also a redpoll remains a moot point. The visit to the larger reservoir revealed another depleted water resource, which sees very ironic when the surrounding fields were dripping with water. 
Lesser Redpoll (c) 2013 Tony Robinson

Meanwhile 3 morning students went off to look for roosting Kites.  It was while they were watching those they heard about a more interesting bird, and tracked down a Great Grey Shrike.  That is the only reason this bird appears at the head of the post.

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