Sunday, 18 November 2018

WkWT Brandon Marsh :: 17 November 2018

So, having failed with the pintail at Pitsford Water and having seen that there was one at WkWT Brandon Marsh, Saturday afternoon's outing was sorted. A quick lunch before we headed out meant we could get straight onto the reserve.

Only having around 2½ hours to play with we headed out to East Marsh pool, Pintailstopping first at the Baldwin Hide. There we a few people in residence - they had been watching three whooper swans and a single black swan. The whooper swans were resting just to the right of the scrape and apparently hadn't moved all morning. Initially the black swan was feeding near the bank, past the Wright Hide, then it decided to have a nap too.

Quite a number of moorhen out on the scrape and around the perimeter of the East Marsh, not so many coot. Growing numbers of teal and wigeon were largely outnumbered by a significant greylag goose presence. A pair of little grebe fed on the far bank to the left of the Baldwin Hide.Pintail

On to the East Marsh Hide and as soon as we sat down we could see the pintail [#148], working right and soon out of view behind reeds. It eventually showed again working left until it again disappeared from view.

We wandered round past Carlton (nothing to see again) and into the Ted Jury Hide. As we talked with the other occupant, a sparrowhawk flew over and out low across the reeds. A single moorhen, and two trees full of woodpigeons were all that we found.

From the visitor centre we added great spotted woodpecker and willow tit. A nice hot chocolate and coffee in a crowded tea room was accompanied by a shared banana and toffee muffin.

Sightings (37) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blue tit, carrion crow, chaffinch, common gull, coot, cormorant, dunnock, gadwall, great black-backed gull, great spotted woodpecker, grey heron, greylag goose, herring gull, kingfisher, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, little grebe, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, pintail, reed bunting, robin, shoveler, sparrowhawk, starling, stock dove, teal, tufted duck, whooper swan, wigeon, willow tit, woodpigeon and wren.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Pitsford Water :: 03 November 2018

A flock of c30 goldfinches, viewed from the upstairs "office", enticed me out today. Charlotte was off to play tennis in the afternoon so we grabbed an early lunch an parted, me to Pitsford Water in Northants, Charlotte to Charlbury in Oxfordshire.

The car park at the far end of the causeway displayed a notice indicating that the gates would be shut at 4.30pm and so I opted to park on the verge up the hill. I dropped down to the causeway and onto the northern circuit. Lots of wildfowl on the water with wigeon and numbers of teal, gadwall and pochard; there seemed to be quite a large count of pochard compared to my usual expectation. From here I also added a single yellow-legged gull.

I started round and as I went I picked up what I think are my first goldeneye of the winter. Across the water were four great white egrets. Large numbers of cormorant rested on the opposite bank. I scanned the swans, only to find the few dozen I could see from this point were all mute.

As I passed the first hide I had a small flock of tree sparrow [#146] in the bushes on the waters edge, opposite the gated road where the feeders are usually situated. I couldn't see any sign of feeders in place but a small flock of c10 collared dove landed in the big tree beyond the gate; a couple made there way onto the lane. Soon after I had great spotted woodpecker over.

I reached the next hide and from here could see the whooper swans [#147] up at the most northerly point.

Whooper swanOn to the next hide and I was able to get a better view of 11 whooper swans, two first winter, feeding in Scaldwell Bay. A great white egret had relocated and was stalking the water to my right. The numbers of coot had increased from only a handful further back, to dozens here. Two moorhen worked their way passed from south to north.

Time to head back and only a lone yellowhammer to add until I reached the road. A short walk over the causeway added little egret and c50 golden plover over the water.

Didn't manage to pick out the pintail ducks reported the previous day. Annoying as they are probably still around.

Sightings (36) included: black-headed gull, blue tit, Canada goose, carrion crow, collared dove, coot, cormorant, gadwall, golden plover, goldeneye, great crested grebe, great spotted woodpecker, great white egret, grey heron, greylag goose, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, little egret, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, pheasant, pochard, rook, shoveler, starling, teal, tree sparrow, tufted duck, whooper swan, wigeon, woodpigeon, yellow-legged gull and yellowhammer.