Monday, 15 November 2010

Winter Arrives and a Lost Duck

Today was the first that I have felt really cold, I regretted not having any gloves with me and if this was not enough to signify that winter is upon us, Jim arrived at work in trousers, the shorts finally abandoned for the year. Fortunately the bitter feel abated as the sun came out and it became pleasant, if cool in the slight northerly breeze.

Opening the hides was uneventful, although the roe deer doe and her two well grown youngsters were good value just outside the Ivy North hide. Back at the Centre we saw the first two brambling of the winter with the many chaffinch under the feeders. There was a report of one the other day at the Woodland hide and I have heard a couple in the trees, but this pair were the first I have seen. I expect they will be the first of many in what I think will be a bumper winter for finches. There were also about 100 siskin in the alders just south of the Centre with a good number feeding on the path.

I am doing some extra bird counts on some of the lakes this winter and today I counted Ivy and Rockford Lakes. Rockford has the greatest numbers of birds at present, especially mute swan, wigeon and coot. There was also a surprise in the shape of a long-tailed duck, it was a particularly dull looking young bird, quite unlike the only other one I have seen at Balshford which was an adult drake. Sadly this will not count for our BTO Challenge total as it was not within the boundary of the reserve, but still a good inland record of a seaduck.

Whilst I was immersed in counting I heard what was probably a calling lesser spotted woodpecker, but I was not able to follow it up and I did not hear it again.

I did not get many other reports today, 28 goosander first thing as they were leaving the roost and about 10 yellow-legged gull at dusk being about the pick.

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