Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday 17th February

Took another trip to the park today as my local patch is under water again!

It was a cold start with a hard frost but I was still quite surprised to see most of the main lake frozen over. It usually takes a few nights of freezing temperatures to get that much ice. It was very still last night so DK and myself speculated that no ripple on the water helped the ice form more easily than is usually the case.

I finally managed to get a decent picture of the Ferruginous Duck this morning with some lovely light early on, and patience on my part, I was able to get a little closer than usual. It helped that there were hardly any dog walkers about that early so the flock remained closer in

Ferruginous Duck
The Ferruginous Duck has been hanging around with the Pochards since its arrival and here we have a male Pochard on the right. There were about 60 Pochards, 7 females, by the dipping platform this morning and they were displaying, males vying for the attention of the few females. The FD was also trying to get in on the act, displaying and chasing female Pochards around.

I heard a Kingfisher close by on the north side of the main lake as I photographed the FD.

The Black-necked Grebe was still on site but out in the middle of the lake at the east end of the island so no photo opportunities.

DK arrived and we did the usual rounds. No sign of the Bittern this morning but DK did see it depart the previous evening. It did a couple of circuits before heading off north east, possibly to roost at Willington.

We had a Little Egret at the north end of the west Fingers again but the best sighting of the morning was 2 Green Sandpipers on the flood waters on Riverside. DK spotted them first as they seemed to be heading off but they came back again shortly after landing briefly close to our viewpoint by the New Cut. They were soon off again however and they landed on the north side of the flood water. A few minutes later they were off again, flying past us as they headed for the STW.

The Barnacle Geese were on 100 Acre again along with some Canada and Greylag Geese. The big lake was mostly frozen and there was no sign of the usual Wigeon but they may have been hidden in the grass somewhere.

As we walked back along the Navigation Channel the rattle of a Mistle Thrush had us looking skywards as a single bird flew east directly overhead.

Those were the highlights of a super morning in the park. The weather was fantastic for a change, cold and clear.

The next of the monthly guided bird walks is next Sunday the 24th, meet at 9am outside the visitor centre.