Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Snowed Off

We were due to be on the coast today, but the snow showers were due to be much worse in the east, so we went somewhere more central and where there was supposed to be fewer snow showers. Of course it was snowing when we arrived. The morning saw a full turnout with just the coastal dwellers unwilling to brave the showers. Luckily, the snow didn't last long. Similar to Tophill all the usual wildfowl was present, but the numbers were down. I'm sure it's all the floodwater allowing the birds to try out waterlogged fields rather than being forced to remain on the standard lakes. 
All photos (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Red-legged Partridge
We had only just left the cars when some Red-legged Partridges were spotted crossing the lane in front of us. In the end a nice covey of 9 birds slipped into the reserve. It wasn't long after this that we spotted first 1 then 2 Green Woodpeckers heads just popping up above the snow. They were trying to dig down in the snow presumably looking for worms. From south hide we saw Teal, Gadwall, tufted Ducks and Pochard, but the water was too high for waders. Some one spotted a large bird perched on the large mound, which doubles as a Rabbit warren. On closer inspection it turned out to be a Buzzard looking for an easy and quick meal. It didn't seem to catch anything while we were watching. There were a couple of Kestrels in the area too, and during the morning both of these captured small mammal prey items. 
Green Woodpeckers
There wasn't much of interest on the western lakes, but Steve spotted a Snipe on the ice on Reedbed lake, which once we got our eyes in increased to 4. There were a few Shelducks here, but they flew off as we approached. A large flock of Lapwings also left the ice as we walked round the circuit.
Record Shot of Common Buzzard
A new area along the hedgerow has been opened and this was stuffed full of birds, including: Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush, Reed Bunting and Tree Sparrows. A male Great Spotted woodpecker was clamped to the peanuts, and we were able to get fairly close before it took fright at a loud rumbling lorry. A female Bullfinch was eating buds near the bird table and a male and 2 more females were spotted.  This is also the area that both groups had great views of a relatively confiding Fieldfare.
From the large hide not much new was seen, as most of the area in front iced over, however from the final hide we saw a wisp of Snipe which flew past the hide several times. There was plenty of activity on the bird feeders, but nothing unusual, nevertheless there was a small flock of Siskins in the alders near the entry gate. Overall quite a productive morning. 
House Sparrow [male]
Half the pm group didn't fancy a trip in the snow. They missed out on some of the closest views we've ever had of Green Woodpeckers, but no cameras were carried after lunch. All today's pictures are from this morning. The rest of the sightings were almost identical to the morning. 

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