Tuesday, 6 January 2015

January: the first six days.

A Wigeon blizzard (c) J.R.
It’s been a rather grey and uninspiring start to the year weather-wise. On Saturday I didn't venture out at all due to the rain and on on Sunday trusting that the mist would lift we stumbled around the moor in the freezing fog. The fog did not lift all day! We did manage a walk round on New Years Day and managed to find just over fifty species to kick off the year list.

Frosted plants (c) Bark
Unfortunately the Bewick Swans from just before New Years Eve did not stay around, but the three White Fronted Geese were still with the large Grey Lag flock on the 1st of January. The goose flock seems to be commuting between the fields to the north west of the reserve and the huge scrape up on Ashgrave. This makes them very hard to see well as the distances involved are quite considerable and the grey gloomy conditions make even scoping difficult. It is certainly well worth finding and carefully scrutinising the flock, as there is always the possibility of other wild geese associating with them.
The Cetti’s warbler is still being heard up at the second screen and it may be that another individual was heard along the bridleway.
The path south of the hide is really attracting large numbers of small seed eating species. There was a flock of over thirty Linnets on Sunday and larger numbers of Reed Buntings and Chaffinches. It might be that we can succeed in attracting and then keeping some Tree Sparrows on the reserve. It was only about twenty years ago that they were a regular species here.
Duck numbers are reaching their annual peaks Wigeon and Teal are predominant with nearly fifteen hundred and five hundred respectively. There are very large numbers of Golden Plovers on and around the reserve with over three thousand recorded on Monday’s Webs count. Lapwings are also present in good numbers with nearly a thousand on the same survey.
Not surprisingly both the large number of waders and the still numerous Starling roost attracts raptors. The regular pair of Peregrines have been seen several times and although not yet confirmed for the year the Merlin photographed just after Christmas is well worth looking out for.
Merlin (c) J.R.
Hopefully next weekend will see a return to more birder friendly weather and we can get out and about and really see what’s about.
Long tailed tit (c) J.R.

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