Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Floods Swell Duck Counts

2nd December - well the rain made its way into the Thames, which duly broke over the riverside flood meadows.  I hadn't seen this before, so took some snaps:

Looking east.  This is usually a meadow grazed by cattle.

East. The Thames is back middle to right

Looking west. Some meadow still visible

Riverside benches
Spade Oak meadow held several species of duck and also a Dabchick that was diving near the dividing hedge.  Don't suppose that is recorded here very often!

The Thames had also seeped into the lake, which had risen by 2 to 3 feet, covering much of the spit and flooding the SW corner.

Still some spit showing
These conditions were obviously to the liking of the dabblers, which swelled their numbers considerably over several days.  I did a count on Friday 30th and found 118 Teal, 102 Wigeon and 53 Gadwall.  Shoveler numbers had also increased, though these were harder to count.  A drake Shelduck had also appeared.

Weekend counts were quite a bit higher again, but the diving duck are still relatively sparse.  A drake Pintail was a nice addition over the weekend, which I popped down to see on Sunday afternoon, following 2 drakes and a female that I had missed on the 28th.  Snipe seem to be loving it here at the moment - having counted 22 on Friday, they rose to the 30s on Saturday and the Sunday afternoon peak count was 48.  Great to see these birds in numbers and a bit strange to see frequent sorties of birds flying around in flocks of 20+.  The Green Sand is also enjoying the conditions and is present more often than not.

The Sunday gull roost was fairly uneventful, though the very white headed 1st winter gull appeared again, but distantly.  It still looks to be YLG on structure, but has a lot of Caspian features.  I even called it Caspian when it first arrived.  I'm hoping it appears in the afternoon pre-roost so it can be grilled a bit better.

I took a record shot of one of the 1st winter GBBG as there were a few about last Friday.

One other bird of note from Friday was a male Blackcap around the western bench briefly.

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