Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Brideshead Revisited

On Tuesday we enjoyed our second visit to Brideshead. A Skylark could just be heard over the strong winds as we left the cars, which was slightly easier to hear as we returned to our vehicles. When had only just entered the gate when we heard and saw a pair of Long-tailed Tits. At home they are currently nest-building, but these seemed to be still in a mixed winter flock with others genuine members of the tit family. The muddy path had improved since our last visit, and as we reached the corner we heard the honking of Canada Geese from the grassy sward, and spying through the twigs we were able to see grazing Wigeon at their feet. 
All Photos (c) 2014 Maggie Bruce

The Tuesday group at Brideshead
On the lake itself we soon saw a pair of Great Crested Grebes, but as they came together instead of performing their graceful courtship dance, this pair showed aggression, and one bird was seen off. Other birds on the lake included Tufted a Ducks, Wigeon, a massive flock of Gadwall, and a couple of drake Teal. There seemed to have been a clear out of wildfowl in the last fortnight, but we eventually saw some Goldeneye, and a single female Goosander. Near the caravan park a female Greenfinch was tweeting on the journey out, but on the way back 3 Goldfinches flew from there across the lake. 
Fighting Great Crested Grebes 
 The End of the Affair
 The Defeated
The breeding Cormorants were quieter this time, but they were still adding to the nests. Three Herons were on the far bank, and another pair seemed to be on a nest at the back of the Cormorant island. Behind us the high-pitched song of a Treecreeper could be heard, but we just couldn't see the bird.  
Nesting Cormorants
 Mute Swan, Wigeon & Goldeneye
 Goldeneye Displaying
 Goldeneye Flying
 Buzzards Grappling
 Great Crested Grebe
 Something or Other
 Leucistic Other
 On the way back I spotted a pair of Buzzards, soaring in circles above the trees at the opposite bank of the lake. They did this a while before interacting, including some talon grappling. The size differential wasn't obvious, so were these members of the same gender, which were battling for supremacy? One of the fighting Grerat Crested Grebes was fishing sand swimming fairly close to our shore as we headed back.  As we neared the muddy path again we saw a pair of Mistle Thrushes, which flew over us with their rattling alarm calls. Finally, Rose spotted the Buzzards again just as we were about to leave.

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