Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Saturday and sunday 14th and 15th December

The Family (c) Mark Chivers

(c) Mark Chivers

Synchronised swimming (c)Mark Chivers

Dawn Greylags (c) Darrell Woods

Secretive Snipe (c) Mark Chivers

Kes (c) Bark

Fieldfare in the sun (c) Bark

Starlings always underrated (c) Bark

A reflective Badger (c) Bark
Despite the fatality last weekend, the three remaining Whooper Swans seem very settled and have been much admired. The better light this weekend was appreciated by the many photographers wishing to photograph them. They have  settled into a predictable routine, feeding and then flying in to the northern lagoon to feed and preen. On Saturday when they flew in they were accompanied by a lone Mute swan but the resident Mutes soon formed up into their battle formation and drove it away. It was interesting to see the degree of interaction between the three with a series of head bobbing movements and calls that meant when they flew back to the feeding field, their take off was perfectly co-ordinated and from the onlookers point of view predictable.
There are still very large numbers of Fieldfares and a few Redwings feeding throughout the reserve they have been coming closer as the easier berries have already gone. There is now a regular flock of Bullfinches working the hedge that runs beside the path to the second screen, there are also several Greenfinches, Wrens and the usual mixed tit flocks. Both Lapwing and Wigeon numbers have risen steadily and there are always flocks of Starlings feeding out on the fields The starlings are performing well at roost time and are largely responsible for the good numbers of raptors to be seen. On Saturday I watched a Kestrel (behaving very much as a Merlin does) fly in very fast and low and take a Starling that was feeding on the ground. The Kestrel was then instantly mobbed by Rooks and Jackdaws until it was forced to relinquish its prey, the starling flew off rapidly but now with two corvids in hot pursuit. I don’t know whether they caught it or not, as they disappeared over the hedge into The Closes.
It seems to be almost certain that there are at least two Bitterns on the reedbed. Although not seen simultaneously two birds were seen to fly from the southern to the northern reedbeds within a short space of time and unless one bird jogged back under cover there must be two!
It is worth spending some time looking carefully around the margins of the first scrape on Greenaways. This is a regular spot for Snipe to lie up and once you get your eye in they can be seen hunkered down and beautifully camouflaged along the edge, hiding in the clumps and tussocks. On Friday twenty four were seen to flush from here when a raptor went over. In fact it is always worth spending some time just standing scanning over Greenaways, it is one of the best spots to pick up raptors and always holds something of interest.

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