Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st October

Stonechat (c) Richard Ebbs

Some of the masses of Canada Geese (c) Mike Kosniowski

Red Legged Partridge by Lower Farm (c) Mike Kosniowski

Beardies on the move (c) Terry Sherlock

Little Grebe by the hide (c) Bark
Grey, damp and gloomy at the weekend but the gloom somewhat lifted by the continuing presence of the Bearded Tits that arrived last Monday. By lunchtime on Saturday however I was convinced that they had left, as we could not find sight or sound of them in the reedbeds either north or south, despite the windless conditions. They were seen, although not heard, on Saturday afternoon and early evening. We subsequently refound them way out in the northern reedbed on Sunday morning, where they could occasionally be heard and seen, flitting fleetingly above the above the reeds that by now were tossing about in the strengthening wind. The RSPB staff and volunteers have gone to great lengths to provide them with grit and seed trays, as these have proved popular at other reserves, to help the birds change their diets from invertebrates in summer to seeds in winter. Lets hope that they stay longer than the last two groups.
Finches were very noticeable with a large flock of chaffinches feeding around the grain by the cattle pens, Brambling being seen both days and a large group of Redpolls feeding along the bridle way. In addition there were flyover Siskins on both days.
The Starling roost is beginning to build up although I have yet to hear of any spectacular displays. Observers on Saturday suggested that there were up to six thousand birds coming in to roost.
Several Goldcrests were seen, notably and most easily along the roman Road. Redwings and Fieldfares were seen in the same area. Two Chiffchaffs were the only warblers that we saw this weekend.
Stonechats are now being seen in all their old haunts and one pair along the path to the first screen were were very easy to see. On Friday seven were found in the vicinity of the first screen.
A Woodcock flew over our heads on Sunday and several Snipe could be seen over the reedbed.
Wildfowl have dispersed, probably over onto the flooded land on the east of the reserve. There are a remarkable number of Canada Geese on and around the moor. Last week someone counted five hundred and fifty on Ashgrave. There are also at least one hundred and fifty Greylags present. Perhaps we can hope that their presence will encourage other wilder geese to visit and stay.
Golden Plovers and Lapwings were seen flying over the MOD land and are also probably feeding on the flooded fields.
Our yearlist is now up to one hundred and forty seven with the addition of this weeks Brambling. It would be pleasing to get to a round one hundred and fifty for the year and both species of winter swans dropping by, would take us almost there. It is the time of year when it is worth checking out any large white birds on the moor, once again I am hopeful.

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