Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday 17th December

Chilly again this morning, west Fingers frozen, but the rest of the lakes were free of ice. Met up with JA in the car park. It was still a bit dark on arrival so tricky to pick out much on the main lake but Gadwall and Tufted Ducks were present along with the regulars. From the Dipping platform it was obvious that a few more Pochard had shown up this week, still low numbers though.

On west Fingers a pair of Shoveler and a pair of Gadwall were making use of a couple of ice free corners, on the east side the Mute Swan Family were present but no sign of any Little Grebes. Bullfinch was heard along the Spit, and a Water Rail was heard squealing, probably on the island between east Fingers and Kramer.

Along the Navigation Channel we found a single Little Grebe and on Kingsmead the cattle feed buckets were proving popular with 7 Magpies and 2 Pheasants. A couple of Carrion Crows were picking over a dead Magpie. 30 Canada Geese were grazing on Kingsmead.

Before we got to Kramer hide we spotted 7 Shoveler through the gap between east and west Fingers. At Kramer hide there were a couple of Greylags with 4 Canada Geese. 4 of the Shoveler flew in, probably flushed by DK as he walked along the Spit. We watched a male Sparrowhawk and a Magpie hassling each over for several minutes, the Sparrowhawk was the aggressor most of the time for a change. A large flock of Fieldfare passed over south, filling the patch of sky we could see from the hide. JA estimated 200 which tallied with DK's estimate when we met up later.

A walk up to 100 Acre had little reward. There were more Canada Geese, some Mute Swans and Gulls. Some tree planting had taken place with a small group on the north side of the small lake.

On the way back into the park a Bullfinch was calling very loudly by the Kissing Gate.We cut through the wood and around to the Rough where Ed and Dave were ringing with DK keeping score. We were just in time to see a Goldcrest, freshly caught. It never fails to amaze me how small these birds are. You really wonder how they manage to survive through the winter, especially the last 2 really cold ones.

Having chatted for a while we left Ed and Dave and continued around Fingers. A Kingfisher flew from the Willow in the north east corner of the main lake, cutting across the main path and over east Fingers.At the main lake hide we found 11 Pochard (2f). I guess the rangers are feeding the ducks now as a party of Mallards came over when we arrived at the hide. There were a couple of Teal out towards the island. A Kingfisher performed a nice fly past for us in the hide.

Good numbers of Coot remain, 30+ Gadwall and about 12 Tufted Ducks were all in the south west corner. Blackbirds, Robins and the odd Song Thrush were the bulk of the sightings along the west side. Once again no Blackcaps despite the large crop of Ivy Berries along the old Priory wall. The Fenlake Stonechat was also AWOL again.

Don't forget the Boxing day guided walk, meet at the visitor centre at 9am and walk off the Xmas day excess!