Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday 22nd December

Another cold start with a thin covering of ice over most of the Finger lake complex. On arrival there were 11 Mute Swans on the main lake being pursued by the resident pair. The 11 eventually left, heading towards the sewerage farm, later in the morning.

Walked around the crescent on the way to Kramer hide and had a Water Rail squealing in the reed bed. The Fingers Swans were together in the small section of open water at the north end of east fingers.

Very quiet at Kramer hide this morning, just a small party of about 7 Long Tailed Tits in the trees directly in front of the hide. The male Sparrow hawk passed overhead and a pair of Shoveller were feeding at the back of the reed beds.

Continuing around Fingers another pair of shoveller were flushed from under the overhanging tree directly opposite the Sedgewick seat.

From the spit a single male Gadwall was with a group of Mallards on the far side of east fingers along with a couple of Canada Geese. There were also a pair of Bullfinch along the spit. As I walked around the crescent again 32 Canada Geese dropped into east Fingers, crashing through the ice.

From the beach on the main lake there were 11 Great Crested Grebes in that corner of the lake.

Main lake hide:
Kingfishers calling from either side of the hide.
2 Male Tufted Ducks
1 Redhead Goosander
42 Pochard (5f)
1 Little Egret in the first fishing swim after the closed section.
Approx 45 Shoveller although could be more as many tucked in tight to the island.
17 Cormorant

Heading down to the south west corner noticed the Little Egret on the move and it ended up in the south east corner. Caught up with the Goosander again by the disabled access fishing swim in the south west corner.

In the north west corner there were 4 Tufted Ducks (1f) but it is possible that 2 of the males were the 2 from the hide as they had flown off before I left the hide and I didn't see where they went.

Back at the car park 2 more Mute Swans flew over and dropped into the main lake on the far side of the island, attracting the attention of the resident pair who immediately set off in pursuit of the new comers. I doubt they hung around for long!

It's a guided walk tomorrow morning at 9am so why not join us for a pre Christmas stroll.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday 16th December

Another cold morning although with no wind early on it didn't seem as cold as yesterday. The wind was increasing through the morning though and was biting by the time I left. I took the main path route around to Kramer and it was almost a rerun of yesterday morning with the Little Egret on the north side of the main lake and Kingfisher(s) being flushed from the north side trees. The Little Egret was flushed by dog walkers but flew back to the north side a little further along the path. It flew off again as I got close and this time flew high to the North. I had flushed a Kingfisher prior to seeing the Little Egret, and did so again when I got adjacent to the steps. Probably the same bird. There were 3 Tufted Ducks circling the main lake and a quick count of the Shoveller numbered 21.

As I passed east fingers there were 3 Little and a Great Crested Grebe on the lake. Arriving at Kramer hide I noticed a ripple on the water and, on entering the hide, watched an Otter diving in the channel between the left reed bed and the smaller reed bed. That was the last I saw of it for about 20 minutes then 2 Moorhens flew up from 2 of the reed beds and perched in the trees. As I watched I noticed a stream of bubbles and a/the Otter appeared at the surface in almost the same place I had originally seen it. It dived again and came back up over on the left hand side before diving again and disappearing. Between the Otter sightings a couple of male Teal came through the gap from west fingers. One of the Teal had a dispute with a Moorhen.

After the Otter disappeared a female Shoveller and a pair of Gadwall were seen through the gap on west Fingers. 8 Shoveller circled overhead before dropping into west Fingers and small group of Teal flew across the gap. 2 Little Grebe appeared at the back of the left hand reed bed. A Muntjac walked around the reed bed in front, right, of the hide. A large Pike leaped clear of the water in front of the hide and another/same was seen again a little later as lunged after some poor unsuspecting prey. DK dropped in and while chatting a Sparrowhawk and a Magpie had a dispute in the dead tree by the channel through to east Fingers. As I was about to leave the hide a 3rd Little Grebe had joined the other 2.

As I headed up towards the Sedgewick seat there was a single female Shoveller tucked in around the back. Several Teal were heard calling.

From the dead seat there was a Great Crested Grebe which flew around to west Fingers but had disappeared, possibly to the main lake, by the time I got around to the spit. From the end of the spit there were 5 Little Grebe. A male Shoveller flew in to join a female, a pair of Gadwall, a male Teal, a pair of Mute Swans and a Grey Heron. 2 male Bullfinch by the life belt along the spit. Also had 2 more Kingfisher sightings along the main path between the steps and the spit.

Heading around the main lake another male Bullfinch was in the trees by the beach fishing swims and another Kingfisher. At the south east corner a ripple at the edge of the water caught my attention and it turned out to be a Mink. It kept tight to the bank as it headed in the direction of the hide.

At the main lake hide:

34 Pochard (5f)
6 Tufted (1f)
24 Cormorant
2 Canada Geese, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron on the shore in the closed section.
A pair of Mute Swans by the hide were driven off by the other pair which includes no. 500.
3 Teal flew low across the lake from the south west and dropped into the Finger lakes.

Didn't spot the red head Smew reported by DK and others :-(

Walked along the back river where a Cormorant was fishing up stream from the boat club moorings. 11 Canada Geese were grazing on the Fenlake side, and 2 others flew up stream.

Back by the main lake there was a Reed Bunting in the south west corner.

There were 30+ Great Crested Grebe on the main lake. Back at the car park 5 Mute Swans flew over and looked like they might drop in to the main lake but eventually gained more height and looked as if they continued on east.