Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Winter's arrived

19th January - my car said that it was -4 C when I arrived at the lake just before 9am and it definitely felt like it, though it was lovely and bright with no wind.  Parts of the lake had frozen, but to no great degree.  I wandered round and took a few scenery shots, as frost has been in short supply this winter.

Some ice had formed on the west side
The cold weather hadn't brought in any interesting birds, though a single Snipe on the spit was my first at the lake this year. A couple of Shelduck were still present along with all the usual wildfowl and small flocks of Siskins were flying around, including about 20 birds feeding in an alder on the southern bank.  The sight of the pair of Black Swans with heavy frost on their backs was quite spectacular.

The previous day, 18th, had seen my first patch visit for almost 2 weeks, hence the lack of updates.  I had been looking after ailing children and was also ill myself.  During that time I had missed a male Goosander and at least three visits of Goldeneye, both single males and a female.  Both of these species are tricky and don't tend to stick, so I'm falling behind the patch list quite early on.

I managed three year ticks yesterday: Sparrowhawk, Snipe and House Sparrow, so nothing too exciting.  The most fruitful area were the fields at Emmett's farm.  I had a nice flock of 300 Golden Plover roosting on a ploughed field, with the same field holding a roosting flock of at least 30 Snipe (this is obviously where they have been rather than on the spit by the lake).  Still no Yellowhammers or surprisingly any Partridges, but it was nice to watch a flock of 60 Linnets bouncing around and feeding on setaside.  The/a single Chiffchaff was still in the hedge near the buildings.

I watched the Golden Plover for a while until they suddenly got up and wheeled around.  They then split into smaller groups and flew off in all directions - I would have thought safety in numbers would have kept them together, but apparently not.  A record shot of some of the roosting group and a small video of the flock flying over are below:

Video here

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