Monday, 31 August 2020

Draycote Water :: 29 August 2020

An early morning post on Twitter suggested that the ruff and turnstone from the previous day were still present; in addition an osprey had passed through, although by the time I got there it would likely have departed. With 20 shags blown off course and present for a few days, it was worth a visit.

The main car park was full already and the overflow was filling up too - not the greatest sign, but I suppose it was a bank holiday Saturday. I decided on a clockwise circuit and it was to prove a costly mistake. No sign of the turnstone or ruff in the most likely spot, and I bumped into a birder who asked if I'd seen the osprey. Apparently it had been back and had gone down the other end about 10 minutes before. I trained by binoculars and could just pick it out, and not too far from shore - bugger, if only I'd gone the other way (which I almost always do).

I reached the inlet and found two cyclists who were excitedly watching some birds. I joined them in watching a family group of four kingfishers, feeding from the railings and concrete walls. They were in no hurry to leave. A few people stopped and I shared my binoculars with an older couple. A joy to spend time with these birds rather than just seeing them cutting across the water.

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I eventually moved on and came across a mixed group of shag, cormorant and Canada geese. CormorantI was taking a few shots of the shag when the was a commotion out in the water. A cormorant was making for shore but was being mobbed by another cormorant. The lead cormorant had obviously caught a fish but was unable to swallow it down and the other was looking for a bit of the action. Eventually they reached shore and it was obvious that it was struggling to deal with such a large fish - too much is never enough! Eventually it returned to the water and swam off - I wonder if it suceeded in getting it down.

I met a young guy, coming from the other direction, who said he'd done exactly the opposite to me. He'd been on the far bank as the osprey passed by and had some good shots - I hope he tags the photos so I can see them later ...

Coming through the trees at Toft shallows, I came across a mixed tit flock which also appeared to contain chiffchaff and goldcrest. As I watched, a couple of spotted flycatchers hunted high in the trees behind.

Much larger groups of fishing little grebe than I've seen of late, with groups of up to eight all around the water.

Sightings (37) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, canada goose, carrion crow, chiffchaff, coot, cormorant, goldcrest, goldfinch, great crested grebe, great tit, grey heron, grey wagtail, greylag goose, house martin, kingfisher, lesser black-backed gull, little egret, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, osprey, pied wagtail, rock dove / feral pigeon, sand martin, shag, spotted flycatcher, swallow, swift, tufted duck, woodpigeon and wren.

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