Friday, 19 December 2014

19th December 2014 - of hybrids and stinkhorns

Headed up to the reservoir again today on feeder duty and had a bit of a look around ...

Numbers and variety from the Stuart Hutchings hide seemed a little down; no waders for example and only 3 Tufted Duck. Mallard were still up around the 70 mark however, with lesser numbers of Wigeon and Teal, and a couple of Grey Heron and a Little Egret. The Slavonian Grebe was showing nicely (distantly of course), actively diving, along with 10 or so Little Grebes and a female Pochard.

Heading off to the Southern Hide and the feeders, it was nice to see most of the usual subjects present - Water Rail below and 2 (male and female) Reed Buntings on, in addition to the more common garden species. Nothing on the water of course - water levels still really rather low. A couple of Buzzard and the odd Magpie past.

Male Reed Bunting on the feeders

 Stinkhorn Mushroom just outside the Southern Hide

Returning back to the SH hide and it looked as if something had spooked the wildfowl - they were all out in the open water but no obvious raptors (ie Peregrines) to be seen ... but then a Grey Heron had just flown over ... perhaps that had caused the alarm?

I took the path along the east side half way to the dam and back to finish the day off whilst the light was still with me. A small group of Canada Geese in one of the first fields to the right quickly swelled in numbers as they were joined by their noisy congeners from over the water. A quick count resulted in 153 going in the notebook, with 2 hybrids amidst their ranks. Exciting stuff! A Kestrel entertained against the sullen sky, a Sparrowhawk shot surreptitiously through the sallows, and another Reed Bunting flickered nervously alongside me.

Canada Geese - the supreme highlight of any birding day ... ?!

A quick scan of the waters beyond the exposed sandy shore revealed another dozen or so Tufted Duck up at the north end with a second Pochard, and 2 Goldeneye furiously diving slightly closer beyond the dam bay.

Back along the muddy path and 3 large, long-tailed thrushes flew up from the fieldside thorns and towards the road ... hmmm, I know what they should be I think. Nearly back to the car, and the skyline again broken by a set of plump berry-stealing silhouettes - a better angle and a pleasant group of 9 Fieldfare finish the afternoon off.

 Who's a pretty boy then? - one of the hybrid geese

 Stithians Reservoir from the southern causeway

 Kestrel ... doing what  Kestrels do best

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