Monday, 13 February 2012

The thaw is on


The northerly wind increased today with afternoon temperatures reaching 7 degrees. The wind also bought some rain, much of the lying snow being washed away.


No sign of any Water Rails but a single Little Egret, 3 Moorhens, 60 Redwings and a superb perched COMMON KINGFISHER by the stream


Still massively covered by a layer of ice but melting at the edges and affording wildfowl with some good welcome feeding opportunities. The big story was the Common Teal numbers - no less than 657 dabbling around the edges, one of my largest counts of this species at Wilstone ever. Also 273 Eurasian Wigeon.

The BLACK-TAILED GODWIT was showing very well once again - this time in the NW corner, Dave Hutchinson obtaining some exceptional images of it (see above). Closeby, the single DUNLIN was feeding along the vegetated edge.

The ice-free patch held a single female Common Goldeneye, whilst other species noted included 3 argenteus HERRING GULLS (a 3rd-winter and two juveniles), 25 Fieldfares and 24 Linnets.

An adult female PEREGRINE was showing very well from the Drayton Hide, flying occasional sorties from the tall Poplar trees. I did not see her catching anything but it was the Teal she had her eyes on.

In the Cemetery Corner Fields, the DARK-BELLIED BRENT was with the 70 Greylags but the Atlantic Canada Geese flock had multiplied to 166 birds. A single white goose was also with them.


Both the redhead SMEW and SNOW BUNTING were still present, with Northern Pochard numbering 196.

A BITTERN was still apparently alive on MARSWORTH but I missed it as it flew the length of the reedbed.


A quick jaunt through the forest searching for Woodcock yielded 2 Nuthatch, 4 Coal Tit, 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Jay.


Thanks to Kathy Sharman and Darrel Bryant, I took a trip over to Benington to see the BARN OWLS. They were late appearing this evening (1650 hours) but once out put on a fantastic display, hunting for Field Voles in the grass. The site is adjacent to Watton Place Clinic and is situated to the north of the village - at TL 306 238. The birds remained in view for half an hour.

I also saw Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel and Great Spotted Woodpecker on the common


The pipit that Dan Forder had photographed just prior to me meeting him at the WATER END tributary bridge on Sunday afternoon was incredibly a WATER PIPIT - a very rare bird in the area these days.

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