Monday, 22 January 2018

That Darn Bittern

Friday was the only day the groups didn't go to Tophill Low.  We went to Ness End Farm instead.  As we walked to the first hide we noticed a flock of a dozen Long-tailed Tits flying along the hedge.  There was just time to snatch a few images of these little missiles.  A Cetti's Warbler was heard singing briefly, the only time we heard this species during the day.   From the first hide there were a few ducks, and a female Goldeneye provided much consternation.  The walk along the arch of hawthorns resulted in 3 Greenfinches, which may have been attracted by the garden feeders beyond.  There were quite a few Tufted Ducks, Shoveler, Teal and Little Grebes on Decoy Lake.  There didn't appear to be much at Chowder Ness apart from some Wigeon, and even these appeared to have gone by the afternoon.  A walk along the riverbank resulted in a pair of confiding Goldfinches, and then we saw Bullfinches when we got into the reserve.  Both groups spent a long time in Reedy Hide.  This is where we got the best views of Marsh Harriers and Kingfisher.  When we got back to the start the couple from Osset decided to return to the main hide.  Everyone else departed, then my phone went to inform me the Bittern was showing well from the hide.  Unfortunately, there was no one left to pass on the message.  The morning group saw 41 species, not including the singing Cetti's Warbler.
Bittern (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Little pink and black missiles
 Just one
 Robin (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Kingfisher
 Male Kingfisher (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Goldfinch
 Ditto
 Redshank
 Redshank (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Bullfinch
 Ditto
 Bullfinch (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Marsh Harrier (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Marsh Harrier (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Marsh Harrier
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
What follows are the Bitterns taken when everyone else had left! 
Bittern (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Record shot of Bittern (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Last, and certainly least (c) 2018 Mike Woods

Thursday, 18 January 2018

In the Pink: 3 Days at Tophill Low

On Tuesday we had to switch to Tophill Low because extremely strong winds were forecast.  We encountered 52 species south of the D Reservoir area.  That is a record figure for this term in only 2 hours.  Birds we saw included: Glaucous Gull (lifer for all), 2 Pintail, drake Goosander, Kingfisher, Siskin, Marsh Tit, 2 Marsh Harriers, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Shoveler, Shelduck, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Curlew, Redshank, Cetti's Warbler (h), Water Rail (h), 2 Sparrowhawks chasing each other, Kestrel & Fieldfare.    
Male Siskin
 Female Siskin
 Silhouette of Marsh Harrier
 Drake Goosander
 Record shot of Pair of Pintail
 Drake Pintail
 Record shot of Glaucous Gull
 Ditto
 Fox 
 Ditto
Wednesday's classes were also changed to Tophill Low.  Again, the morning group saw 52 species, although extra species this time incl: a Black-tailed Godwit, Lesser Redpolls, and Golden Plovers.  The Glaucous Gull wasn't spotted until the afternoon.  It was on D reservoir again.  This time the light was better, and the photos weren't taken through glass. 
Bullfinch (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Female Bullfinch (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Ditto
 Great Spotted Woodpecker (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
Robin 
 Pygmy Shrew?
 Goldeneye
 Lesser Redpoll

 Glaucous Gull - a Pinkish Gull?
 ditto
 ditto
We were always due to visit Tophill on Thursday.  Rather cruelly the morning group didn't manage to get anywhere near the 52 species recorded by both the Tuesday am and Wednesday am groups.  There was no sign of the pair of Pintail, a Kingfisher or Golden Plovers.  The Cetti's Warbler refused to sing, and the Water Rails were silent.  The Glaucous Gull was present for the morning group, as were the Goosander, the Black-tailed Godwit, and the Redpolls.  2 Marsh Harriers west flew past South Marsh West, and were definitely interlacting. The sunbathing dozy Roe Deer were a nice surprise, making the most of the Foxes usual bank.
Cormorant - in breeding condition 
 Ditto
 Mixed - including Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Shoveler, Wigeon & Teal
 Roe Deer
 Ditto
 Lesser Redpoll