Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Frozen Over!

22nd January - well it must have been cold last night as the pit went from largely open water yesterday to almost totally frozen over today.  The wildfowl had kept a small area around the main island free, but that was about it.

A morning visit hoping for a cold weather movement of something interesting, but to no avail.  The 3 drake Pintail were still present but roosting and actually quite hard to pick out from the throng, though later in the afternoon they were all swimming and feeding together, which was much better.  A bizarre occurrence, when an over flying Skylark descended and landed on the ice in the middle of the pit and called down a second bird, before they realised their mistake and flew off west.  The muddy flood meadows are largely unfrozen and this morning the Snipe were probing away in large numbers.  I counted 84 birds and there could well have been others hidden in the longer grass.  Quite an amazing sight really, especially when you consider that last year we were lucky to get a handful during this period.  A further 4 on the spit made today's count 88 birds - a little down on the weekend.  Unfortunately, they had failed to attract any other wader species in.

I also made a quick visit pre school pick-up to see whether any large gulls had come in to pre-roost.  There were quite a few, mostly standing about on the ice, but at 2:45pm a smart looking 1st winter Caspian Gull appeared.  It found a small pocket of water to bathe in, which was my photo opportunity, but it got flushed by a low flying Red Kite and flew to the back of the pit to preen - here it remained.  It was not the regular 1st winter male, which is a very large bird, but a smaller and daintier looking bird.  It might be the second bird seen a couple of weeks ago in the roost, but without photos, it's difficult to be sure.

A fly over Rook was another patch year tick - I really must try and clear up on some of the commoner birds I still need!

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