Sunday, February 20, 2011

Guided Walk: Sunday 20th Feb

It was a cold misty morning and just a couple of people joined me for the guided walk this morning. We headed off on an anti-clockwise loop of the main lake but stopped straight away as Pochard were offering good close views on the north side by the Visitor Centre. Mixed groups of Mute Swans, Gadwall, Pochard and Coot were feeding on the sunken weed, odd Wigeon were also mixed in.

We spent quite a bit of time comparing the various wildfowl, noting the various distinguishing marks, before cutting through to the river on the south side in the hope of spotting the Stonechat on Fenlake. Three ponies were loose on Fenlake but no sign of the Stonechat. While we watched and waited a pair of Teal flew and settled on the small lake, then the ponies flushed a Snipe. We continued east along the river before cutting across Pressmead where a couple of Carrion Crows were searching for food in the long grass.

Back at the main lake we scanned the wildfowl at the east end and picked up a Red Crested Pochard to add to the list. There were a lot of Coot, as always, at the east end but also Gadwall Wigeon and Pochard. We moved around the east end of the lake and got better views of the RCP and also a Common Gull that was trying to steal scraps from the diving ducks and Coots. Then 2 Shelduck appeared and we had good views through the scope before they departed south (Fenlake?).

We continued around the lake and scanned the Alders, by the Crescent, for Siskin to no avail. A small group of Tufted Ducks were on east Fingers along with a few Mute Swans and Coots. We continued along the Spit and watched the pair of Great Crested Grebes on west Fingers, in the reed bed opposite the last fishing swim. A short while later the Tufted Ducks came through from east Fingers (4m2f) and a Single male Teal was spotted along one of the Fingers.

Back up to the main path and a change of plan as a group of walkers headed down the steps, so we turned and headed back to the navigation channel, a good move as Siskin calls alerted us to their presence in the Alders across the other side of the channel. They quickly flew and passed right over our heads calling as they went, and dropped into the crescent Alders.

We continued along the navigation channel and scanned a party of Woodpigeons on Kingsmead picking out a single Stock Dove. 3 Greylag Geese were also on Kingsmead with a few Canada's.

We stopped off at the STW to scan 100 Acre for Geese but there weren't many present, the bulk being a good distance away in the mist. On the large lake there were about 25 Lesser Black Back Gulls, quite unusual for here.

As we headed back to the car park along the Cut a Treecreeper was heard but we couldn't locate it. A little further along a party of Goldfinch were spotted in the tops of the Willows and were calling and singing. That was it as we reached the car park, a good morning and hopefully some of the wildfowl id's will have sunk in. They should be staring to depart for their summer breeding grounds over the next few weeks so most will probably be gone by the next walk on the 20th March. We should have some of the first of the summer migrants by then, can't wait, join us then.

On my recce before the walk I had a couple of Treecreepers at the junction of the Spit and the main path. A little further along 6 Siskins were in the Alders by the Crescent. In the sheep pen there were a couple of Bullfinches.