The bird feeders were low and when I went to the shed I found that I needed to get more of almost everything, a trip to the feed suppliers was called for. Three sacks of assorted birdfood cost over £100! It was the recent rise in the price of peanuts that really put up the bill, luckily we do not use too many of these so hopefully I will not need more before the end of the winter.
After a damp morning, the moisture in the air first thing portended drizzle for a good while later on, eventually out came the sun so I took the chance to count the birds on Rockford Lake. As well as the usual ducks there was a single black-tailed godwit feeding on the bank nearest the path and it peered warily at me as I passed.Although there are still good numbers of wildfowl on the lake the population has dropped markedly since last week. The 2 smew were still there as were several hundred gadwall and at least 8 goldeneye. The great white egret was fishing along the western shore throughout my count and I got a couple of pictures. It was using the little egret style foot shaking method to flush fish out of the weed, something I don't think I have ever seen a grey heron doing.
I was counting for about an hour and by the end the sun was quite low this resulted in a stark contrast between the white bird and the dark water made more interesting by the reflections off the water.
At the end of the day I went to the Goosander hide to count the goosander roost. I watched until it got dark and when I totalled up the count it came to exactly 200, which just sounds like an estimate! Once again I was helped out by a fox walking the shore of the lake. The birds that had been out of sight round the corner all followed it and so allowed themselves to be counted. I also saw 7 white-fronted goose that flew in with a flock of greylag which also included the bar-headed goose. As it got dark the 2 smew flew in, although they made several circuits before eventually landing near the long shingle spit to the west of the hide. The female red-breasted merganser is also still roosting with the goosander.
Although there were a good few gulls I could see no sign of the first winter ring-billed gull reported recently and last seen on Saturday. I understand the mealy redpoll was seen again yesterday and 2 bittern were seen again today.