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

Friday, 12 December 2014

Pintail and Peregrines

Spent an hour or two up at Stithians this afternoon with Samuel P, it wasn't actually raining or particularly windy for a minor change. From the Stuart Hutchings hide/south side -

c140 Canada Goose
1 hybrid Canada/Greylag (?)
50+ Teal
40+ Wigeon
60+ Mallard
15+ Tufted Duck
2 Pintail (mf)
1 Goldeneye
20+ Little Grebe
4 Little Egret
6 Common Gull
147 Lapwing (in flight only)
3 Peregrine Falcon (1 with a Coot kill, a pair later in flight and on the shore.)
1 Kestrel
2 Buzzard

1 Slavonian Grebe in the first inlet north of the southern nature reserve area on the west side, and 3 Pochard from the northern cutoff. Also around the western side were 4 Stonechat and 3+ Bullfinch, 30 Starling and a few Redwing and Meadow Pipits.

Peregrine on its kill

Slavonian Grebe

Attempted to count the birds at the feeders -

2 Reed Bunting
12+ Chaffinch
1 Goldfinch
3 Greenfinch
3 Great Tit
3 Blue Tit
5 Dunnock
2 Blackbird
1 Robin
1 Water Rail

and in the vicinity

1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Chiffchaff calling
1 Red Fox (asleep in the sedges on the far side).

Some nice birds today - good to see the Slavonian Grebe still present and with half decent views, and the cracking drake Pintail - Stithians tick for me (going to be a few more of those to come). Just arrived too late to see the Peregrine in action but always pretty awesome to see these raptors well.

Reed Bunting and Chaffinch

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

9th December 2014

A quick visit to check the feeders on the way back from the Lizard. The weather was closing in and becoming murkier with driving low cloud, but waterfowl numbers appeared to be up, sort of -

54 Wigeon
47+ Teal
75 Mallard
and c.100 Canada Goose in flight, all from the Stuart Hutchings hide. No sign of the Slavonian Grebe in that part of the reservoir visible unfortunately.

2 Little Egret, 6 Tufted Duck and 6+ Little Grebe additionally.

The feeders were of course in need of replenishment (aka filling), and put the seed stored inside the hide into some metal sweet tins for added security against rodent attack (the wooden storage bin showing signs of ingress).

GSW (Great Spotted Woodpecker) in flight, and a few Chaffinch and tits, but didn't hang about or see anything else unusual/more interesting.

Saturday's Fox ...

Sunday, 7 December 2014

December WeBS count

Joined Greg Adams for the monthly WeBS count at Stithians this Saturday 6th Dec, accompanied also by Samuel Perfect. The weather was kind enough, although mostly overcast. We took our time, and enjoyed some good birds, although some were a bit (or very) distant, due at least in part to the shoreline being a long way out, especially from the main hide ...

Waterfowl/water birds  -

172 Canada Geese
75 Mallard
3 Pochard
6 Goldeneye
43 Tufted Duck
41 Wigeon
38 Little Grebe
1 Slavonian Grebe
14  Teal
27 Coot
1 Moorhen
1 Water Rail
4 Grey Heron
4 Little Egret
9 Snipe
28 Curlew
139 Lapwing
1 Golden Plover
221 Black-headed Gull
64 Herring Gull
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
8 Common Gull
5 Mediterranean Gull
1 Kingfisher

Additionally -

2 Raven
2+ Buzzard
1 Kestrel
1 Reed Bunting
1 Chiffchaff
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

And at the feeders, species seen included-

Blue tit
Great Tit
and Robin, in addition to the aforementioned Water Rail.

with other odd passerine/non-passerines seen throughout.

Mammalian highlight was a nice Red Fox, passing through the fields on the west side of the lake, seemingly leaving the Curlew it was passing through strangely unperturbed.

A couple of dog walkers walking the shoreline didn't enter the nature reserve, although their dogs did - including to fetch a ball thrown for them into the reserve, putting all the Lapwing and many of the other birds up.

Distant record shot of the Slavonian Grebe ...

Water Rail below the feeders.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014