Important breaking news!! - The scrape wall in front of the Stuart Hutchings Hide has been breached! Well, not exactly, but the water level in the reservoir as a whole has risen enough that it has been overtopped, and birds and water can now flow freely between the two ...
What better sight (and sound) to cheer up a winter's day birding than a flock of wiffling Wigeon?
Two Teal within the scrape (and another 10 elsewhere, mostly seemingly paired up), 40 Wigeon (some of whom ventured within the soon-to-be-subsumed scrape) and 3 Mallard were on view from the Southern Hide, with 15 Lapwing resting on one of the islets and 6 Little Grebe dotting the bays. A female Goldeneye was also out on the water, with the Slavonian Grebe still present, but both really requiring the use of a scope for anything other than preliminary identification.
Other birds included 3 Meadow Pipit and a Pied Wagtail, 3 Carrion Crow, a Little Egret (later 2), the odd Herring Gull and flyby Magpie, and a little later on, 2 Raven down near the shoreline and 2 Buzzard over.
Crossing the road and on to the Southern Hide, and we could see, even before we reached the hide that a couple of Grey Heron were resting along the shores; 3 in total along with a Little Egret could be seen upon entering the hide.
3 Herons and an Egret
Other birds out on the marsh included a handful of Teal, a trio of Wigeon, and the lonesome Coot.
It was good to see the feeders, nearly empty from hungry bird-related ravaging, proving popular in their new location. Too popular perhaps?!
The usual suspects were present, it was good to see the Water Rail and Great Spotted Woodpecker (a male this time) putting in appearances. More shy was the Moorhen - lurking in the undergrowth, and 2 Woodpigeon further into the woods.
The full roundup included -
4 Reed Bunting
2 House Sparrow (mf)
3+ Blue Tit
1 Great Tit
Water Rail, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Moorhen as mentioned,
with Blackbird, Dunnocks and Robins all present and correct
A selection of happy customers - Water Rail, Greenfinch and Blackbird.
Have a suspicion more than just the maxima of 5 Reed Bunting noted last weekend are present/passing through - different plumages, whether the bird is ringed or not may be clues, but it is hard to tell, without making more of an effort to look at them all properly!
At any rate, none of the birds today appeared ringed, and didn't notice the rather more advanced adult male this visit - last weekend it (or possibly another) was even in full song in the warm February sunshine!
Great Tit with a nutritious snack pilfered from the feeders
There are a couple of CBWPS work parties in the offing - the hides need re-staining externally, with ongoing general spruce up required (not saying that they are made of spruce ... although they could well be), finishing the grafitti removal (thanks Dave for making further inroads + sorting the noticeboard) and other odd jobs around the general area.
Made some minor adjustments to the feeders - raising the far peanut feeder a little for example.
Exciting news is that the plan for the proposed scrape outside the Southern Hide from a few years back is being looked into again - if this goes ahead (dependent on finance proposals etc going through, largely out of the hands of the society as such) this will hopefully bring more permanent standing water nearer to the edge of the hide (and hence waterbirds, hopefully), and at the same time eliminate the encroaching willow stands which have been a problem in the past.
Other Bird News:
15/02/15 - 4 Common Buzzard, 3 Pochard, 2 Grey Wagtail, 90+ Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull (D Bray)
16/02/15 - 2 Bullfinch, Water Rail etc (J and F Rice)
Male Reed Bunting