Moor Green Lakes Group

Bird Reports 2010

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January 2010

Two days into the New Year the temperature dropped and a foot of snow fell. The snow flattened the Bramble clumps used by small birds for food and shelter. The lakes were mainly frozen over for 2½ weeks. About a quarter of Colebrook North remained clear of ice because of the 100’s of birds using it. A small area of Grove remained open and Horseshoe and Colebrook South were completely frozen over.

The immature Cormorant from Essex, seen in November wearing an orange ring “CJX”, was seen on 30th along with 21 other Cormorants. 2 Little Egrets regularly. No sign of the Herons nesting yet this year.

Maximum waterfowl counts on various dates: 8 Mandarins, 7 Great crested Grebe, 16 Barnacle Geese, 54 Greylags, 249 Wigeon, 127 Gadwall, 32 Teal, 73 Shoveler, 29 Pochard, 281 Tufted Ducks, 52 Goosander (on the 4th), 2 Goldeneye and 339 Coot. A pair of Pintails was present on Colebrook Lake on the 23rd to 25th.

Kestrel reappeared after the snow had gone; Sparrowhawk and Buzzard were around all month. Two Barn Owls present on Manor Farm, one can often be seen in the entrance of the nest box during the day. The Little Owls often seen sunning them selves, particularly in the trees south of the paddock adjacent to the car park.

Common Snipe and Water Rail were seen on the lake margins. A Green Sandpiper returned on the 21st after the ice had gone. Up to 137 Lapwing throughout the month.

Gull numbers have been reduced by the ice and snow, Up to 50 Black-headed Gulls 27 Common Gulls, just a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A Great Black-backed Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull were present on the 16th.

A pair of Stonechat present on the 2nd. Skylarks moving through on the 17th. Grey Wagtailes along the river lately. The numbers of thrushes has dropped, but regular Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Redwings on the paddocks. Nuthatches are resident on the peanut feeders on trees just south of the car park. All the common finches are present; many around the feeding station near Colebrook hide. Bullfinches (heard more often than seen) are resident along the path between the car park and the river. Flocks of 50+ Siskins and Lesser Redpolls can be found feeding in the Birch and Alders along the river. Reed Buntings are still present at the feeding station.

John Hodson has done a sterling job keeping the feeders going throughout the bad weather.

February 2010

February weather was normal compared to January’s freeze up.

The juvenile colour ringed Cormorant from Essex, first seen in November, was seen again on the 10th and 21st. Up to 3 Little Egrets daily and a Heron seen inspecting last year’s nest site.

Waterfowl counts on various dates: 6 Great crested Grebe, 17 Barnacle Geese, 50 Greylags, 406 Wigeon, 117 Gadwall, 48 Teal, 63 Shoveler, 43 Pochard, 267 Tufted Ducks, 20+ Goosander, 1 male Goldeneye, 61 Coot and a pair of Shelduck on the 28th – let’s hope they find the recently installed nest box on Plover Island!

Lapwing numbers reached 400 mid month. 5+ Common Snipe seen on the lake margins (probably many more). Water Rails are present, but not easily see – Grove scrape at dawn or dusk is the most likely place to find one. Green Sandpiper present all month with 2 from 20th.

Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard present, plus Peregrine on 5th, Red Kite on the 21st. Two Barn Owls present on Manor Farm, at times hunting during the day when it has been wet overnight. The 3 pairs of Little Owls often seen sunning them selves, particularly the pair in the old willow at the bottom of the car park paddock.

Black-headed Gulls are beginning to congregate on Colebrook Lake during the day, some already in breeding plumage. Common Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls present and a few Herring Gulls and Yellow-legged Gulls with a Great Black-backed Gull on two dates.

The wintering Skylarks began to chase each other about on fine days. No sign Stonechats since the snow in January. Pied and Grey Wagtails in evidence. Blackbirds and Song Thrushes claiming territories. Redwings and Fieldfares still present, but no Mistle Thrushes this month that I am aware of.

Nuthatches are regular on the peanut feeders on trees just south of the car park. Treecreepers seen in trees along the river. Three reports of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in trees along the river are welcome news; it has been some years since one was present at Moor Green.

All the common finches are present; Bullfinches often around the paddock. Flocks of 50+ Siskins and 50+ Lesser Redpolls may be found feeding in the Birch and Alders along the river. Approximately 10 Linnets present, Yellowhammer from 16th and up to 8 Reed Buntings and Coal Tit have been present at the feeding station.

March 2010

Despite the weather, spring arrivals and breeding is early this year.

The colour ringed juvenile Cormorant from Essex is still in the area and was recorded on the 8th and 21st on Colebrook Islands. Little Egrets moved on during the month and the local Herons are feeding young; their third year of breeding on the site.

Waterfowl numbers had dropped significantly by the end of the month. Goldeneye have left and just 2 Goosander remain at month end. Geese are pairing up and will be nesting soon. Shelduck have visited several times during the month – let’s hope they use the nestbox! Coot are building nests and Mandarin Ducks are paring up.

Most of the Lapwings have left leaving a few pairs starting to nest. Common Snipe are still present and Water Rails have been seen. Green Sandpiper numbers increased to at least 3 by the end of the month. A Redshank passed through on the 1st, with 4+ residents from 17th. Up to 3 Little Ringed Plovers present from the 18th. Some exceptionally early passage waders: Dunlin (10th), Greenshank (12th - previous earliest was 10 April 2007), Black-tailed Godwit (20th - previous earliest was 30th March 2002) and Curlew 25th. Red-legged Partridge recorded this month.

Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite and Buzzard present, plus Peregrine on 21st and an Osprey on the 18th, (the previous earliest was on 31st March 1998). Two Barn Owls present on the workings. Three pairs of Little Owls often seen sunning them selves, particularly in the willow at the bottom of the paddock. Stock Doves have started early with 6 nest boxes in use, containing 6 eggs and 5 recently hatched young on the 31st.

Black-headed Gulls are spending time on Tern Island. Up to 50 Common Gulls and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls present during the month.

Wheatear on the 19th, the second earliest record. The wintering Skylarks are singing and Meadow Pipits present. Stonechats present all month. Sand Martin recorded from 22nd, Swallow from 26th, and House Martin on 31st.

Chiffchaffs started to sing on the 18th, Willow Warbler on the 25th and Blackcaps on the 26th.

The first Bramblings of the year were seen on the 30th. Bullfinches seem to have dispersed, as have Siskins and Lesser Redpolls. The small Linnet flock is still present, as well as the singing male Yellowhammer.

April 2010

A dry, but not necessarily warm, month has left the water levels reasonably low.

The last Goosander of the winter was seen on the 5th; the last Wigeon in the second week of April and the last Teal and Shoveler in the last week. Baby Mallard were seen from 5th, Egyptian Geese from 20th Canadas from 28th. A few visiting Shelduck, including 3 on the 12th. A pair of Greylag Geese looked as if they were settling down to breed, but did not stay. A few non-breeding Cormorants remain. Mandarin Ducks are doing well with 63 eggs in the boxes monitored on the 28th.

Up to 3 Green Sandpipers during the month, the last seen on the 21st. Common Sandpipers first seen on 5th with 3 on the 21st. A Whimbrel briefly on the 9th; another Greenshank on the 22nd, an Avocet on the 24th – the third site record. Oystercatcher on the 19th and 27th. Common Snipe until 19th at least. Up to 6 Little Ringed Plovers in residence, with a few pairs of Lapwings and Redshanks.

Common Terns arrived on 21st, with up to 7 now present. A few Black-headed Gulls are present, but unlikely to breed. Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite and Buzzard (6 on the 1st) and a Peregrine on 1st. Three pairs of Little Owls often seen sunning them selves, particularly in the willow at the bottom of the paddock.

Wheatear passage with one or two on a few days. The resident Skylarks are singing and Meadow Pipits still present at the beginning of the month. A pair Stonechats present all month, suggesting they may breed; which has occurred in the past. Increasing passage of hirundins, some probably local. Swifts recorded from early in the month. White Wagtail on 3rd Yellow Wagtail 11th, 15th and 21st.

13 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers and 5 Blackcaps were on territory on the 1st. The first Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler arrived on the 12th, Garden Warbler on the 19th and Reed Warblers on the 20th. A Lesser Whitethroat on the 21st and a Grasshopper Warbler on the 23rd were probably passing through.

Siskins and Lesser Redpolls were present at the beginning of the month, but have moved on. A male Brambling was around the feeding station for a few days start of the month, along with the Reed Buntings. Nearly all the tit boxes are occupied and doing well. Jackdaws and Nuthatches are also using the nest boxes this year.

The small Linnet flock was present at the beginning of the month. The singing male Yellowhammer has not been reported at all this month, which is ominous.

May 2010

May weather was better this year than the previous two, so hopefully breeding birds will do better. Lower numbers of migrants, but some nice local rarities among them.

Canada Geese have hatched several more broods, and few more young Egyptian Geese appeared; as have two families of Greylag goslings. A couple of sightings of Shelducks, one of 3 together, and a wandering Muscovy Duck hung around for a couple of weeks. Plenty of activity from the residents ducks (Mallard, Gadwall and Tufted Ducks), but only Mallard young have appeared. Three boxes of Mandarin Ducks have hatched; and laying has started again in one of these. A lonely male Wigeon has been present all month.

Hobbies have been present since at least the 3rd. The pair of Kestrels had disappeared some weeks ago, but returned toward the end of the month. The juvenile Peregrine also put in a few appearances during the month. The Little Owls have been seen with food for young and it is likely that the Barn Owls also have young.

Common Tern numbers stabilised at around 20 with about 7 nests. The Black-headed Gulls have approximately 75 nests. A Whiskered Tern* visited briefly on the 2nd, and a Black Tern on the 13th and 31st.

Probably 4 pairs of Little Ringed Plover and at least 4 of Redshank have attempted to breed, but no evidence of success yet. A couple of Lapwing nests hatched, but a Sparrowhawk took some young. A Snipe was still present until, at least, the 11th. A sprinkling of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers passed through during the month and Common Sandpipers were present until the 15th. Three Whimbrel dropped in on the 1st, a Sanderling on the 13th and a Grey Plover on the 30th and the 31st, being the first since 1999.

Cuckoos were seen a few times at the beginning of the month, but few indications of any latterly. Swallows, Martins and Swifts have been around in steady numbers, but nothing outstanding. However a sighting of a Red-rumped Swallow* at the west end of the workings on the 6th (?) is a site first. The first Whinchat of the year was rerecorded on the 13th.

Warblers seem to be doing well and the first Lesser Whitethroat was heard by the river on the 9th. Nearly all the small nestboxes have been used, with Great Tits taking the majority. A pair of Yellowhammers remains, despite the digging activities in their vicinity.

* - Subject to acceptance.

June 2010

An influx of Great Crested Grebes occurred mid month with no signs of breeding yet. A pair of Widgeon on 18th and a pair of Teal from 23rd onward. The First Tufted Duck young were seen on the 14th, since then several more nests have hatched. Gadwall with 11 young on 20th, down to 9 on 25th. Several broods of Mallard present. Mandarin Ducks had a good breeding season with 58 young hatching from the nest boxes, and a few more from natural nest sites. A Shelduck passing through on 4th.

Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Hobby and the occasional Red Kite seen during the month.

Up to 2 Redshank remained to the end of the month; although no evidence of breeding this year? At least 6 Little Ringed Plovers hatched this month and 2 had fledged by month end. The first Green Sandpiper was seen on the 26th; up to 4 by the end of the month. Ringed Plover 25th. Lapwing numbers increased during the month, with a few broods raised on site.

Juvenile Common Terns seen on Tern Island from the 19th, and Black-headed Gulls a few days later. A few sightings of LBB and Herring Gulls.

Kingfishers became more active mid month, possibly because they were feeding young somewhere. A juvenile Cuckoo was seen on 29th - which is an intriguing record and could have bred locally, Reed Warblers being a common host species.

A nest of 3 Little Owls were ringed, and a further juvenile from another nest was seen during the month. Unfortunately one young was found dead - it appeared to have got tangled in a fence. Barn Owl daytime activity seems to have diminished, which would indicate that there are no young being fed.

The pair of Stonechats that have been resident on Honey Field were proven to have bred when 3 juveniles were seen on the 27th. This is the first confirmed record of breeding for the site. Skylarks have been active and must have bred. Pied Wagtails have also done well, but not sure if Grey Wagtails have bred on site this year.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Treecreepers seem to have done well. Warblers also seem to have had a good breeding season with lots of juveniles, especially Common Whitethroats, Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers.

There seem to be more Reed Buntings than ever as the reed beds develop on Manor Farm. Yellowhammers have been singing still at the west end of the site.

July 2010

Last months influx of Great Crested Grebes are still present with plenty of displaying, including the occasional "weed dance". One family of Mute Swans. Good numbers (200+) of Canada Geese present. Egyptian Geese have not done so well, but a few young are about. A single Shoveler on the 1st, a pair of Teal during the first week and a juvenile Shelduck on the 24th. Resident Mallard and Tufted Ducks have done well this year, and the family of 9 young Gadwall were well grown when last seen. A handful of juvenile Mandarins are still about. My feeling is that Coot and Moorhen have had an average breeding year so far.

Adult Peregrine on the 22nd and the regular Buzzards, Kestrel from mid-month. Sparrowhawk, Hobbys and the occasional Red Kite seen during the month.

Black-tailed Godwit on the 5th, a Curlew on the 13th and an Oystercatcher on the 24th were the migrant highlights. A few occurrences of migrant Redshank, the summering birds having departed. Dunlin on 22/23rd and 28/29th. At least 6, possibly 8 Little Ringed Plovers successfully raised this year. Green Sandpipers present all month with a peak of 6 on 31st. Common Sandpipers arrived on the 14th, with 5 on the 26th; strangely one was seen displaying on the 25th. Lapwing numbers reached 120 by the end of the month. A relatively early Snipe returned on the 16th, at least 2 by the end of the month.

15 Common Tern and 5 Black-headed Gull chicks were ringed on Tern Island on the 3rd. The annual drama of a probable Mink attack on the nesting birds occurred on the 12th. Fortunately many of the young birds were able to escape to the Islands on Manor Lake where the parents continued to feed them until they fully fledged. Two of the Gulls were colour-ringed, so watch out for them. Details on the notice boards.

115 Lesser Black-backed, 6 Herring and 5 Yellow-legged Gulls at roost on the evening of the 25th. A Common Gull recorded on the 20th.

No sign of Barn Owls this month, which is ominous; but at least two families of Little Owls fledged. Plenty of Swifts and Swallows, some Sand Martins and a few House Martins feeding on site this month. The family of Stonechats are still present. The first autumn Wheatear on 31st. Kingfishers have been very busy on the river and lakes, indication a successful year. Warblers also seem to have had a good breeding season with lots of juveniles, especially Common Whitethroats.

Lots of Blue Tits and Great Tits this year, but not so many Long-tailed Tits as usual and hardly any Goldcrests - a result of the cold winter I expect. The Yellowhammer has been singing regularly at the west end of the site.

August 2010

A total of 34 Great Crested Grebe (including 7 juveniles) on the 27th with 2 adult and 2 juvenile Little Grebe. 12 Mute Swans, including 3 juveniles. Max counts of 290 Canada Geese, 90+ Egyptian Geese, 11 Greylag Geese and 15 Barnacle Geese this month. An elusive Little Egret has been seen occasionally and Grey Herons are resident.

Up to 10 Teal by the month end and a pair of Pochard for most of the month. Mandarin Ducks present all month, including flocks 7 and 11 W along river at dusk on 27th. 59 resident Mallard and 116 Tufted Ducks on 27th. The family of 9 young Gadwall dispersed during the month. 130 Coot on 27th.

Buzzards (up to 4), Kestrel (including a juvenile), Sparrowhawk, Hobbys and Red Kite seen this month, but the star raptor was a female Marsh Harrier passing through on 29th. A pair of Red-legged Partridges have been seen occasionally on the new workings.

A poor showing of migrant waders this month: a peak of 5 Green Sandpipers and 6 Common Sandpipers. A Dunlin on the 3rd/4th, Up to 4 Little Ringed Plovers up to the 18th. Ringed Plovers on 11th, 16th and 21st. A Redshank present on the last 4 days of the month and Greenshanks on the 17th and 28th. Lapwing numbers reached 160 on the 19th. A maximum of 4 Snipe recorded on 29th.

Common Terns have left the site with just the occasional passing bird. Up to 30 Black-headed Gulls, including juveniles. 300 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the evening roost on the 27th, Occasional Herring and Yellow-legged Gulls have been seen.

The Barn Owls are still present, but seem to have failed to breed on the reserve again. It appears that the 3 Little Owl territories along Lower Sandhurst Road have bred successfully. Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins have been moving south in the last 2 weeks with an estimated 150 birds in the sky on the 25th, The last Swifts were seen on the 18th.

The family of Stonechats are still present. The first 2 Whinchats of the year were recorded on the 27th at Fox Lake, on the Hampshire side; but no Wheatear this month. Kingfishers have been very busy on the river and lakes, a juvenile and adult female were caught by the ringers on the 8th. They also caught 42 Warblers, including 6 Garden Warblers, 10 Blackcaps and 18 Chiffchaffs.

Lots of Pied Wagtails on the workings, and a Yellow Wagtail on the 18th. The male Yellowhammer has still been singing occasionally at the west end of the site.

September

A total of 32 Great Crested Grebe on the 24th. Resident pair of Little Grebe with 2 young were joined by another mid month. Up to 19 Mute Swans. Estimated 300 Canada Geese leaving the roost on 10th, with one feral Snow Goose and a feral Barnacle Goose. Up to 48 Greylag Geese present in the roost on the diggings. 162 Egyptian Geese on the 30th is, I think, and new site record.

Up to 10 Cormorants gathering in the trees on Grove Island, along with an occasional Grey Heron. No reports of Little Egrets? Up to 23 Teal, 33 Pochard, 17 Shoveler, 65 resident Mallard and 116 Tufted Ducks on 24th. 38 Wigeon and 10 Gadwall on the 30th. 195 Coot and 20 Moorhen on 25th.

Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrowhawk and up to 4 Hobbys seen this month.

A Redshank on 2nd, Snipe present all month with 6 seen on 4th. A juvenile Ringed Plover from 8th to the 10th. Common Sandpipers up until 20th. Green Sandpipers all month with 7 on 13th. Good numbers of Lapwings with 139 on the 3rd and 156 on the 20th. A relatively poor autumn for passage waders so far.

Two late Common Terns passed through on the 13th. Up to 48 Black-headed Gulls on the 24th, and 640 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the 25th, Occasional Herring and Yellow-legged Gulls have been seen. A Common Gull on the 30th.

A additional Barn Owl nest box has been installed to improve the chance of breeding after failed 3 years. Little Owls present in the usual locations.

Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins present until the end of the month, with good numbers passing through as they head off to Africa. Notable reports were 200 Sand Martins on 16th, 25 Swallows and 40 House Martins on the 30th.

7 Meadow Pipits on the 20th. 2 Yellow Wagtails (one juv.) on the 15th. 30+ Pied Wagtails, at least 2 Grey Wagtails and a male Stonechat present all month. A Whinchat on 4th and 7th and 2 Wheatears on 10th.

The Ringing Group caught good numbers of Warblers on the 5th: 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 8 Blackcaps, 14 Willow Warblers and 56 Chiffchaffs. This indicates the significant numbers of birds passing through at this time of the year.

The first Siskins of the autumn were recorded on 28th. Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Chaffinches have been present all month, but are gathering in flocks now. More than 15 Reed Buntings were recorded on the 26th.

October 2010

Numbers of Grebes dropped during the month, with just 15 Great-crested Grebes and no Little Grebes recorded on the 28th.

14 Mute Swans, 165 Canada Geese, 14 Barnacle Geese, 2 feral Snow Geese on the 28th. Egyptian Geese are always about, but no significant gatherings reported this month. 11 Cormorants, 252 Coot, 114 Tufted Ducks, 32 Shoveler, 56 Gadwall, 94 Wigeon, on the 28th and 29 Pochard on 9th.

An immature male Goosander arriving on the 16th is the earliest ever return date, the previous earliest was 19th October last year.

Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk regular and Red Kite on 15th and 2 Peregrines on 16th and 17th.

The first Water Rail of the winter was seen on the 7th. Snipe present all month with a maximum of 9 recorded, but they are skulking birds and there were probably more present. 3 Green Sandpipers all month, and a Dunlin from the 12th to 16th. Highlight of the month was the 4th site record of an Avocet, which unlike previous birds, stayed on the diggings from 11th to 17th, so was appreciated by many. Up to 95 Lapwing, which is down on previous years.

Up to 61 Black-headed Gulls and 42 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the 7th. A few Common Gulls present. A probable adult Mediterranean Gull seen briefly on 13th.

A Barn Owl seen in the entrance of the box on 7th and 25th. Little Owls present in the usual locations. A Short-eared Owl present on the Manor Farm area from 15th to 18th.

The last Swallows I am aware of were on the 2nd, and last House Martins on the 17th. Meadow Pipits and Pied and Grey Wagtails have been present on the gravel workings. Fieldfares and Redwings arrived on the 18th. Stonechats present all month.

The Ringing Group ringed 3 Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaff and 1 Goldcrest as well as other birds on 2nd.

A Crossbill flying over Grove Lake on the 7th is the first site report since 1999. 3 Brambling on the 5th and 1 on 20th. Linnets, Siskins and Redpoll are congregating in the area and Bullfinches are arriving for the winter.

November 2010

November sees the change from autumn to winter and a build up in waterfowl.

Up to 13 Great-crested Grebes, 24 Mute Swans, 186 Canada Geese present and the 14 feral Barnacle Geese were regularly on the paddocks north of the Reserve. Duck numbers rising with the following maximum counts: 193 Wigeon, 61 Gadwall, 46 Teal, 79 Mallard, 17 Shoveler, 50 Pochard, 167 Tufted Ducks, and 275 Coot this month. A Pochard x Ferruginous Duck hybrid on 21st.

At least 36 Cormorants at roost on 13th. Greylag Geese not reported this month, but a few may have been present. Pair of Egyptian Geese with one well grown young on the 29th. Goosander numbers increased throughout the month: 1 on 1st, 6 on 13th, 11 on 19th, 31 on 23rd and 63 on 29th. Goldeneye from 19th, with 2 males by the end of the month.

168 Lapwing on 20th is the highest count I have. Up to 2 Green Sandpipers and several Snipe present during the month. A Redshank on 7th, Jack Snipe seen on 6th - first of the year, and a Woodcock on 28th, last recorded in 1995.

Up to 4 Buzzards, a pair of Peregrine Falcons (which could be the Bracknell pair), Sparrowhawk, Red Kite and Kestrel regularly seen.

5 Yellow-legged Gulls and 420 Lesser Black-backed Gulls at roost on 23rd. A few Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and increasing numbers of Common Gulls during the month.

A Barn Owl has been seen regularly in the NW box and occasionally hunting this month. Little Owl seen regularly. Increasing numbers of Thrushes, including Fieldfares and Redwings. 10+ Linnets with Skylarks and at least 2 Stonechats present all month.

Blackcap on the 26th, Chiffchaff on the 13th and increasing numbers of Goldcrests present in the Tit flocks. More reports of Treecreepers and Nuthatches as the leaves fall.

Hundreds of Redpoll have been present lately, including a few Common (or Mealy) Redpoll which are larger and paler that the usual Lesser Redpoll; one was caught and ringed on the 28th along with 49 Lesser Redpoll. Siskins were present in smaller numbers.

Numbers of Bullfinches increased during the month, as have other finches. A Yellowhammer present on 6th, and a few Reed Buntings remain.

December 2010

December was a cold month with periods of several days of snow and freezing temperatures which has been hard on wildlife. A substantial amount of the lakes have been frozen, but constant activity by birds has ensured that there was some open water on each of the main Lakes.

Goosander numbers at evening roost on Grove Lake reached 118 on the 5th with 104 on the 7th and 84 on the 25th. Two male Goldeneye were present on and off this month. A pair of Red-crested Pochard arrived mid month and remained into the new year. Waterfowl counts on the 19th and 22nd recorded: 7 Great Crested Grebes, 22 Mute Swans, 414 Coot, 15 Teal, 65 Wigeon, 156 Gadwall, 24 Goosander, 2 male Goldeneye, 178 Tufted Ducks, 64 Pochard, 27 Shoveler, 31 Mallard, 42 Greylag Geese, 14 Barnacle Geese, 44 Canada Geese, 3 Egyptian Geese and 6 Cormorants.

Cormorant and Goosander were seen fishing on the river on the 10th, where the water is slightly warmer and ice free (due to processed discharge from the four major sewerage works up-stream!).

3 Snipe, 220 Lapwing recorded on the 5th. Green Sandpiper seen on the 4th and 10th; probably remained throughout the month. On 27th, 2 Curlew were seen feeding on the north bank of Colebrook Lake before flying off. These are the 3rd record of winter Curlew for the site.

A Yellow-legged Gull with 2 Herring Gulls, 5 Common Gulls and 48 Lesser Black-backed Gulls loafing on the ice on 27th. 108 Black-headed Gulls at roost on the 7th. A colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull was found at Moor Green on the 23rd; this was ringed at Rainham Landfill site on the Thames in London on the 18th of December this year.

A Barn Owl was hunting in the winter sun on the 27th; being hassled by a female Sparrowhawk briefly. On that 10th a Tawny Owl was seen looking out of a hole in a dead tree mid afternoon. It was seen several times after that. Owl food is more difficult to find in the cold and snow. Peregrine present the 27th.

Stonechat present on 23rd, - 8 Linnets on Term Island on 10th.

Winter Thrushes present in small numbers now that most of the berries have gone. Siskins and Redpolls always present somewhere in the Birch and Alders. Tits and Finches at the feeders - also regular Mallard hoovering up the dropped seed.

Bruce Archer

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