Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines Day Guided Walk

The weather was a bit dodgy, cold with drizzle clearing before the start (2C). Primary target for today's walk was the wintering wildfowl which will be departing for their summer breeding grounds in the next few weeks. First up however was a Great Black-backed Gull which flew in and settled in front of the Sailing Club. Then we had the scope on 6 Wigeon (3m3f) which were also in front of the sailing club. 13 Cormorants also lined up there, some of the adults are coming into their grey heads in preparation for the breeding season.

We headed off along the main path for a clockwise loop of the main lake. A group of ducks were close in to the north bank of the main lake feeding. We had good views of Pochard (m and f) and Gadwall (m and f). Turning we had 7 Redwing on the meadow feeding and managed a brief view through the scope until a dog flushed them into the bushes.

A quick detour down the Spit and around the Crescent found 2 male Tufted Ducks. A pair of Great Crested Grebes had started on their mating/nesting platform. Three Shoveler, 2 males and female, were also seen along with a few more Cormorants. The Crescent reed bed has had a section cut through the middle. Hopefully this will be as successful as last years cut, in boosting the reed growth.

Goldfinch and Long-tailed Tits were spotted as we wandered up along the canoe slalom and the river. No sign of the Grey Wagtail on the Canoe Slalom. At the main lake hide we were had a large flock of Pochard over towards the island with some Tufted Ducks closer, to the left of the hide, and 4 Wigeon keeping their distance just beyond the Tufteds. A wind surfer put the bulk of the Pochard to flight giving great views as they passed overhead before returning to the lake closer to the hide.

We walked through Press Mead and then cut back to the river to check out Fenlake. There was no sign of the hoped for Stonechat but we heard some Teal on the Fenlake pool. A flock of Canada Geese, with the Greylag/Canada cross, headed downstream on the river.

We turned back to the main lake, heading along the western side behind the sailing club. Little of note along here, a strange call caught my attention but it turned out to be a Great Tit, confirming the old adage, "if in doubt, it's probably a Great Tit". GT's have a wide variety of calls and songs to catch us out with! Finally, at the north west corner a Greenfinch leered at us from the top of a tree.

Quite a successful morning on the wildfowl front and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We await the dates for the next ones, stay tuned.
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