Saturday, February 04, 2012

Saturday 4th February 2012

What a morning! Minus 7 to start with but still three mad men, JA, DK and yours truly, were out and about first thing. The sunrise was pretty special.   

DK checks the main lake as the sun comes up
A Little Egret was perched on the fallen Willow on west Fingers. It is quite unusual for any to be around when it is so light but who can blame them for "staying in bed" when it's this cold. It departed when JA threatened to get his camera out. We checked out the Crescent for any Corn Buntings that were left in the reed bed from the overnight roost but if they were there they weren't moving either. We did have a Reed Bunting and DK had a Water Rail while JA and myself looked the other way! Fingers was frozen over apart from a tiny pool on the east lake that the Mute Swan family was keeping open. A single Redwing was in the top of the Willows by west Fingers.

DK headed off towards the Rough while JA and myself headed along the Navigation Channel which was also frozen over. We spotted four Little Egrets in the Willows at the end of the Spit. Continuing around to  Kramer hide we had even better views of them. A Sparrowhawk flew low across the lake as we watched the Egrets.

Four Little Egrets remained in the roost
and again from Kramer hide
Leaving the hide we met up with DK and put him onto the Egrets before continuing around Fingers. We had nothing of note around Fingers and came back out onto the main path where we met TP. He'd had a Kingfisher at the end of the Canoe Slalom. We mentioned the Little Egrets and then we went our separate ways. We found the Kingfisher at the end of the Canoe Slalom where the water was still ice free. The Canoe Slalom itself resembled an ice rink so there was no Grey Wagtail to be found. We headed around to the main lake hide meeting up with DK again on the way.

DK found a Black-tailed Godwit in amongst the throng of wildfowl on and around the small section of open water out by the island.There were also at least 8 Herring Gulls, of various ages, on the ice. The wildfowl counts were 86 Gadwalls, 45 Tufted Ducks, Pochards 119, Coots c110, 10 Shovelers, 5 Teal and 4 Wigeon. (Thanks to DK for those).

Black-tailed Godwit
Leaving the hide we crossed Press Mead where a Common Buzzard was glimpsed as it glided over the tree tops, with Crow in pursuit. We continued around to the Leat Pool where we had close, but brief, views of a Kingfisher as we crossed the bridge. Next stop was the viewpoint across the river to Fenlake Meadows where we found the Buzzard perched in the top of one of the trees on the far bank. There was little else of note.  

Ice covering the Gt. Ouse

Swirl in the ice caused by the turbulent water as it froze
Along the west side of the main lake, behind the sailing club, there was very little to see until JA spotted a movement at the bottom of the old Priory wall. We waited and were rewarded when a Bank Vole came out of a hole and scurried along the bottom of the wall. It stopped and posed for us before continuing about its business. We thought there may have been a second and possibly a third but none were seen at the same time so it is possible that the same animal had a tunnel along the inside of the wall and kept popping out  every so often.

Bank Vole
 It may have been cold but it turned into a bit of photography morning and the Blackwit was a new species for the recent sightings board. Hope it's a bit warmer tomorrow for the next volunteer task!

Late news:

JA checked out the STW bridge and 100 Acre adding to the list with 4 Little Grebe on the river and the following on 100 Acre:
8 Teal
140+ Wigeon
180+ Greylag Geese + 1 other (Pink Foot?)
2 singing Skylarks
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