Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Frustrating start to 2016

The patch had an excellent start to 2016 when Jackie N discovered a drake Ring-necked Duck amongst the Tufted Ducks on the 2nd.  All credit to her for braving the lousy wet weather and finding a second for the patch. The first was over 40 years ago, a bird that returned over several winters from 1971 to 1974 at the west end of the complex.  Jackie's bird is thought to be the drake that is currently wintering on Bray Lake and did so last winter as well, although it has never strayed this far before.  Both lakes are on the River Thames/Jubilee River and are about 6 miles apart as the duck flies, a bit further as the river flows.  I can only hope that it decides to venture north again, as I was ensconced in Oxford when news broke and was unable to attempt a twitch - even if I had, I would have missed it, as it flew off west later in the afternoon.  Now if I'd been at home, as I had been for days before............ah well, the joys of birding!

I went down the morning after in drizzly weather hoping to relocate the bird but to no avail.  I then attempted a gull roost the following evening, which was a non event, as the gulls refused to settle for some reason, so my year list did not begin in earnest until the 5th.

By the end of the day, I had seen most of the regular stuff and reached 71 species, highlights being the following:

  • 3 Shelduck that arrived in December remain.
  • A colour ringed adult Mediterranean Gull - different to an unringed adult that has been seen several times over the past few weeks.  I read the ring as white S62 and sent off the details.  The same lady administers several schemes and replied saying that I had missed a leading digit (I did wonder at the time if this was the case) and ring should read 3S62.  This is a bird ringed as an adult in Belgium in May 2005, so is at least 12 years old.  It summers/breeds in Antwerp and was last seen at Spurn in Sept 2015.
  • A flock of 35 Golden Plover flew east over Emmett's fields, which also held a flock of c200 Chaffinch, 10 Reed Buntings and a single Lesser Redpoll. 15 Linnets and 4 Meadow Pipits were separate to this main flock. A Chiffchaff was also in a hedge and then around Emmett's farm.
  • A nice flock of c100 Siskin along the railway at Randall's meadow and a further 30 feeding in alders on the NE side of the lake. A female Bullfinch was here as well.
  • Two Coal Tits coming to the cottage feeders, where another or the same female Bullfinch flew through.
  • Two Little Egrets favouring the works bay but also coming to the island/spit.
  • A little Grebe on the NE side with another 3 on the ski pit.
Record shot in poor light - the white colour ring is visible on the left leg
1 of 2 today
I also walked around the north side of the lake for the first time since the site owners, Lafarge, had the poplar wood cut down.  This is an area that had been favoured by nesting Ring-necked Parakeets and currently looks like a bit of a bomb site.  I am told that they intend to replant with native tree species.  It certainly gives a different feel to the site - the lake is visible from the road that runs to the north and fields to the north can be viewed from the lake - time will tell how this might effect records - I am already worried that a traditional Woodcock roost site is now too open.  The two shots below show the east and west views from the small bridge over the brook that used to be within a poplar wood.

No comments:

Post a Comment