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Bird Reports 2009

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January 2009

January soon turned cold with a freeze-up from the 4th to the 10th followed by a wet period with 3 inches of rain and overnight frosts.

Up to 2 Little Egrets on most days. A Bittern was seen going to roost on the 8th. A few hundred Canada Geese spend all their days feeding on the local paddocks. Up to 59 Egyptian Geese and the feral Barnacle flock of 22 also present. A visiting gaggle of up to 25 Greylags have been seen regularly and a family of 4 White-fronted Geese on the 21st were only the second site record.

Two male Smew on the 1st and 2nd were a good start for the year. The freeze-up caused concentrations of the ducks on Grove and Horseshoe Lakes with 60 Goosander on 3rd, 57 on 5th, reduced to 31 by the 16th. 4 Goldeneye reduced to one by the 31st. A lone Shelduck on 26th and 27th.

Maximum duck numbers: 244 Wigeon, 98 Gadwall, 190 Tufted, 69 Pochard, 58 Mallard, 40 Teal and 80 Shoveler.

The juvenile Hen Harrier seen at the end of December has put in several appearances during January, mainly around the middle of the day – it is evidently wintering in the local area. The resident Kestrels seen regularly, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk present; single report of Peregrine and Red Kite. The Barn Owl seems to have found a mate, because 2 have been present since the 4th.

The number of Lapwings dropped to a handful during the freeze-up, but recovered to 200 later in the month. The fist ever record of a wintering Ruff occurred between the 5th and 15th and a very early visit from a Ringed Plover on 18th. At least 4 Green Sandpipers, at least 10 Common Snipe, a Jack Snipe and at least 3 Water Rails around for most of the month.

Up to 2 Yellow-legged Gulls, 20 Herring Gulls and 110 Lesser Black-backed Gulls at roost. A few Common Gulls and 60 Black-headed Gulls; the later showing a tendency to hang around Tern Island where they may nest in a few months time.

A Raven seen flying over on the 2nd will be the first site record if accepted.

Skylarks and Meadow Pipits evident from mid month and Thrushes, Redwings and Fieldfairs numbers seem to be increasing. Good numbers of Goldcrests are present in trees along the river with the Tits. Siskin and Lesser Redpolls numbers seem to have dropped.

February 2009

February began with a period of overnight frosts followed by a very wet day on the 9th, then dry and mild for the rest of the month.

The Great Crested Grebes seem to have dispersed and Little Grebes have returned to their breeding locations on the workings. Little Egrets have been scarce since the cold spell finished. Grey Herons have not returned to last years nest site.

The Geese don’t seem to be in a hurry to start breeding – regular flocks of up to 28 Greylags, 100’s of Canadas, the 20 Barnacles and 50+ Egyptians. A Shelduck present at dawn on the 28th.

Duck numbers change through the winter. This month Tufted Duck have increased to 200+ and Shoveler to more than 100. 43 Goosanders recorded in the evening roost on the 3rd, less than last month; and just two male Goldeneye remain. The number of Goosanders spending the day on Colebrook Lake has increased to 25+ for some reason, possibly increasing numbers of fish to feed on?

The resident Kestrels, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard have been seen regularly, including a pale Buzzard. A juvenile Peregrine was seen on a number of days, it often hunts the workings and further west and has been seen feeding on its kill on the pylon south of Horseshoe Lake. Two Barn Owls have been seen regularly, especially when it is cold or wet and food is more difficult to find.

Up to 200 Lapwings in the first half of the month, but numbers dropping as the weather improved. Only one Green Sandpiper seen during the month. An early Redshank present on the 20th, un-countable numbers of Common Snipe hiding in the marginal growth and reports of a Jack Snipe. One Water Rail seen on Grove.

Gull numbers are down and consist mainly of Black-headed Gulls, which are beginning to hog Tern Island during the day, and some Common Gulls. A fly-over Great Black-backed Gull on the 7th could be the only record of the year.

A few Skylarks, Stonechats, and Meadow Pipits present. Thrush numbers increased during the cold spell, as did the number of Goldcrests along the river where it is slightly warmer and there are more insects. Siskin and Lesser Redpolls numbers have reduced. Bullfinches are more visible in the lakeside trees now and can be located by there simple whistling calls. Reed Buntings are also “singing” in the reedy areas.

March 2009

March has been reasonably mild and dry with the odd frosty or wet days. Many wintering birds have left and some summer birds have arrived, but more to come.

The Grey Herons have returned to last year’s nest site and appear to be incubating. A pair of Egyptian Geese hatched 3 young on Horseshoe Lake by the 21st. Many of the geese are pairing up, including 2 or 3 pairs of Greylags, which have bred in the area but never yet on the Reserve. A female Shelduck has been roosting on Colebrook North for the whole month and probably before; this is the first wintering record for the site. Two additional Shelducks have visited a few times.

All the regular duck species except Goldeneye remained at the month end, but in much reduced numbers. A male Red-crested Pochard was present on Grove Lake for two days from 6th (last recorded in 2006). Up to 120 Wigeon have been feeding on Fleethill Farm. Mandarin Ducks have appeared on the Reserve and had a nest of 2 eggs when the boxes were checked on the 25th.

The resident Sparrowhawks have been seen engaged in display flight and the pair of Kestrels are regularly hanging around the area where they bred last year. Buzzards are regularly over the area and lately they have been in the trees on the workings, and seen mating. The immature Peregrine passed through regularly, sometimes stopping to rest. A Red Kite was seen perched on the Reserve fence eating a frog on the 16th. The two Barn Owls have been seen regularly and one of the 3 pairs of Little Owls can often be seen enjoying the sunshine.

The first returning Redshank arrived on the 6th with at least 6 by month end and the first of 4 Little Ringed Plover arrived on the 13th. The lone Green Sandpiper was joined by 3 more on the 29th. Two Dunlin appeared on the 31st. Lapwing numbers have diminished and only the breeding birds are around and staking out territories. Black-headed Gulls continue to gather on Tern Island where they should nest.

A pair of Red-legged Partridges were present on the 13th. A Raven flew over on the 7th. The Skylarks have been singing all month. Reed Buntings seem to be everywhere and a Yellowhammer arrived on the 5th. The numbers of Thrushes, Goldcrests, Siskins and Lesser Redpolls have diminished throughout the month.

The first Sand Martin was seen on the 16th, followed by Swallow and House Martin. Wheatears were recorded on the 31st, Chiffchaffs on the 14th and Blackcaps on 21st. Bramblings were seen on Fleethill Farm on the 22nd.

April 2009

April has been relatively dry and mild, but the arrival of migrant species and passage birds has been much slower than usual.

The last Little Egret was on seen the 5th; the Grey Heron is nesting again this year and has young. A clutch of 6 baby Egyptian Geese was seen on the 2nd. The first hatch of Canada Geese was on the 29th. The wintering Shelducks have not been reported since 15th. The last Goosander was reported on the 11th, last Shoveler on the 15th, last Teal on the 18th and the only sighting of Pochard was a passing male on the 29th. One Wigeon remains, but no doubt will leave soon. There are at least one brood of Mallards by the 20th and 3 Mandarins on eggs in the nest boxes at the end of the month. Coots have also hatched.

The local Buzzards seem to have built a nest within the recording area (a first), but it is not yet occupied. The 3 pairs of Little Owls along the north of the site have been very visible this month; but the Barn Owls less so as they are, hopefully, tending eggs, and benefiting from an increase in prey.

The Common Terns arrived on the 10th and there were at least 12 by the end of the month. Black-headed Gull numbers reached 135+ by month end. A probable Mediterranean Gull on the 22nd and a Black Tern on the 17th.

The last report of the wintering Green Sandpipers was on the 19th, and Snipe on the 27th. Six, possibly 8 Little Ringed Plover and at least 8 Redshank have settled for the summer. The only passage waders recorded were a Dunlin on the 17th, an occasional Common Sandpiper from 11th onward and up to 5 Ringed Plovers.

The first Cuckoo was seen around the 23rd and Swifts from the 18th. The number of Swallows and Martins seems low. Kingfishers have become very active along the river recently. A Meadow Pipit was displaying on the 13th and a few pairs of Skylarks are nearly always singing. Wheatears have been passing through in ones and twos. 6 Yellow Wagtails on the horse paddock on the 12th was a highlight, as was a White Wagtail for a few days mid month.

Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps arrived last month and numbers have increased. The first Willow Warbler was heard on the 3rd, Sedge Warbler on 6th, Reed Warbler on 15th, Garden Warblers arrived on the 16th and a passing Grasshopper Warbler on 18th.

Late Lesser Redpolls were still present at the end of the month and a few Bramblings were seen mid month. A male Yellowhammer was present all month.

May 2009

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 2009

Little Grebe with one well grown chick but no report of Great-crested Grebes breeding yet. The male Wigeon that has been present since the winter eventually disappeared by mid-month. Passage ducks were: a pair of Shoveler and 2 Shelducks on the 11th, 3 male Pochard on 13th and a Teal from the 24th to 26th.

Hatching of the 4 broods of Little Ringed Plover were 2 young on 4th, 4 on 9th and singles on the 10th and 19th. Four half grown young seen and only one fully fledged young was seen by the end of the month. There could well be more to come – their camouflage is good and they are difficult to locate.

Last month’s Grey Plover remained until the morning of the 1st. Ringed Plover were seen on 6th - 7th, 12th, 27th - 28th. Last Redshank was reported on the 20th. No young appear to have survived this year. The number of loafing Lapwings peaked at 75 on the 21st. A few are locally raised young.

The return passage began with the first returning Green Sandpiper on the 16th; 3 on the 29th, and Common Sandpiper on the 18th. A Curlew flew through on the 27th. An immature Black Tern was seen on the 26th.

Disaster struck the nesting Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns on the 3rd/4th and again on the 17th/18th – the Gull colony was reduced from an estimated 75 nests to 3 nests; and the estimated 7 Common Tern nests to just one when the Island was visited on the 23rd; probably predated by feral Mink which were seen in the area during the spring. Trapping was carried out, but none were caught.

Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Hobby and Red Kite were recorded regularly. A juvinile Little Ringed Plover - at about 12 days old

Two pairs of Little Owls have produced broods of 2 and 3 young which left the nests this month. The Barn Owl boxes were checked on the 11th: Stock Doves in the east box and a pair of Kestrels on eggs in the top of the west box. A Barn Owl was present in the west box, but no nest. Since a pair of Barn Owls are regularly seen hunting, a late brood is a possibility. Great Tits made use of most of the monitored boxes and fledged 214 young from 26 nests, leaving 5 nests of Blue Tits yielding 27 young. The large boxes hosted 4 Mandarin nests producing 33 young and 7 Stock Dove nests fledging 5 young.

The productivity of the smaller birds seems to be good this year with the mainly fine weather. Whitethroats and Reed Buntings seem particularly numerous. Yellowhammers are maintaining a territory on the workings.

July 2009

At least one pair of Great Crested Grebes are still on a nest but no sign of young yet. Little Grebes have hatched 3 more young. Just one Snow Goose remains from the local feral flock and returned on the 20th. The Numbers of Geese and Coots have increased during the month. A pair of Maned Ducks (natives of Australia) were present on 26th and 27th; escapees from someone’s collection no doubt.

A total of 8 to 10 families of Tufted Ducks have appeared, but no sign of breeding Gadwall again this year. The male Wigeon returned mid-month after a few weeks away. A Teal was recorded sporadically throughout the month and a Pochard from 30th.

Hobby, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard were seen regular, probably breeding in the general area. Young Kestrels were seen at the end of the month from the resident pair. A pair of Barn Owls are present on the new workings and a family of little Owls have been seen daily around the pony paddock by the car park – check the posts.

Migrant waders increased throughout the month with 2 Oystercatcher on the 11th and a singles on 20th and 31st. 2 Ringed Plover around 22nd. A late Little Ringed Plover hatched early in the month bringing the total to 9 this year of which at least 3 have fledged; 3 juvenile passage birds present on 31st. Up to 210 Lapwing during the month. A Sanderling on the 25th Dunlin regular with 1 on 9th, 2 on 16th, 1 on 20th and 2 on 26th, 27th. Snipe returned on 23rd. Redshank on the 1st, 2nd and 10th. A Greenshank appeared briefly on 4th. Green Sandpipers present every day, peaking at 9 on the 9th and 28th. Common Sandpipers on the 3rd and 4th then up to 3 from 13th onward. A welcome Wood Sandpiper on 28th to 30th. Most of these waders were seen on the diggings west of the Reserve.

A further attack on the breeding Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls, probably by feral Mink, caused complete abandonment of breeding on Tern Island on the 6th; although some adults still remain in the area. A few large Gulls have been loafing on the diggings, mainly Lesser Black-backed Gulls with a one Herring Gull and Yellow-Legged Gulls – peaking at 3 on 14th.

Martins, Swallows and 2 Swifts still present on 31st. Stonechats present and could have bred on site. All the resident Warbler species remain, with plenty of young. Greenfinch and Goldfinch flocks have increased during the month and Linnets have arrived. Nuthatches have become more evident and may be seen on the peanut feeders along with the Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a multitude of Blue Tits and Great Tits.

August 2009

The first Great Crested Grebe young of the year were seen on the 8th with a total of 6 from 3 broods. Up to 716 Canadas and 99 Egyptians. Juvenile Shelduck 1st to 7th. At least 2 pairs of Mandarin Ducks with full grown juveniles throughout the month. One Wigeon for early part of the month. Up to at least 7 Teal all month. A few Pochard around all month. Shoveler re-appeared on the 22nd.

Up to 3 juvenile Kestrels, probably from the nest in the top of the Owl box. Regular Sparrowhawks, Hobby and Buzzards. A Peregrine on 18th and 22nd The highlight of the month was a female Marsh Harrier on the 9th; only the second site record. Two or 3 Red-legged Partridges were seen on the 30th/31st.

Lapwings peaked at 233 on the 15th. The Resident Little Ringed Plovers left at the end of July, but passage birds were present on the 17th, 28th and 31st. Passage Ringed Plovers were present on seven dates, with 4 on the 23rd. Two Sanderling on the 1st. An adult Little Stint and a Black-tailed Godwit on the 2nd. A good month for Dunlin with up to 2 from the 2nd to 4th and up to 5 between 11th and 24th. A Snipe seen regularly throughout the month. Four Redshank on the 27th/28th and a Greenshank on 15th/16th. Up to 12 Green Sandpipers and up to 4 Common Sandpipers present throughout the month.

The Gull roost increased to about 100 large Gulls by month end. A Yellow-legged Gull on the 8th. A few Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns loafing during the day.

Little Owls were prominent in the early part of the month and one or two Barn Owls regularly seen hunting or in the box. Tawny Owls were heard regularly.

Swifts departed during the first week of the month. Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins present with an increase of passage birds at the end of the month.

Passing Wheatears were seen from the 8th onwards. Warblers becoming more mobile through the month as the final broods fledge. Finch flocks formed by the end of the month with flocks of about 30 Goldfinches and 15 Linnets feeding on thistles.

A Spotted Flycatcher on 30th was the first of the year. Tit flocks have been roaming the hedgerows and making use of the feeders near Colebrook hide.

September 2009

September is a month of change as summer starts the fade into winter.

23 Great Crested Grebe including 10 young (a very good year) and at least 6 Little Grebes. Up to 27 Mute Swans. An influx of 153 Greylag Geese on the 20th (a new site record) and more than 120 Egyptian Geese, 633 Canada Geese recorded on the 8th. On the 10th I recorded 2 colour ringed Canadas which were ringed on Horseshoe Lake on the 30th June 2003 – so not very mobile. The 19 feral Barnacle Geese + one pure Snow Goose and a Snow Goose hybrid remain in the area. The first 2 winter Little Egrets arrived on the 25th.

Wigeon on Colebrook Lake had increased with 55 on the 22nd, so probably many more in total. 16 Teal on the 16th and a few Shoveler and Pochard present at times. 60 Tufted Ducks, 57 Mallard and 197 Coot recorded on the 20th.

The resident Kestrels and Sparrowhawks with the local Hobbys and Buzzards present all month. Also further sightings of a Marsh Harrier on the 10th and possibly again on the 14th.

Passage juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were seen on the 1st and 5th. Dunlin seen on 10th, 12th, and 2 on 14th. Common Sandpipers last seen on the 8th and Green Sandpipers present all month with a maximum of 10 on the 14th. Snipe also present all month, with a maximum of 3 reported on the 12th and 20th.

A record Gull roost witnessed on the 20th contained an estimated 1950 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 40 Herring Gulls and 25 Yellow-Legged Gulls on the Hampshire side. The first recorded Common Gull on the autumn was on the 4th. Two juvenile Common Terns still present on the 7th.

Little Owls and up to 2 Barn Owls seen regularly and Tawny Owls heard on site.

Migrating Swallows and House Martins passing through, with reports of 50 House Martins on the 6th and 13th. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen on the 8th.

Wheatear on the 2nd and Whinchats on the 2nd, 6th and 12th often with the returning Stonechats. Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes have appeared and a report of 3 Redwing on the 26th.

There were still several Chiffchaffs around at the end of the month, but all the other Warblers seem very scarce. Finch flocks and roving Tit flocks are very active and may include all sorts. Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings still resident.

October 2009

October has been mild and summer migrants have lingered while winter birds arrive.

Several resident Grey Herons present, but only two reports of Little Egrets this month. The Cormorant roost on Grove Island can have 15+ birds there throughout the day. Colebrook Lake seems to be attracting most of the 35+ Mute Swans present. By mid month Goose numbers had dropped to around 250 Canadas, 125+ Egyptian Geese, 34 Greylags and the usual 18 Barnacles and 1½ Snow Geese.

A site Duck count on the 21st yielded: 66 Wigeon, 25 Gadwall, 15 Teal, 87 Mallard, 9 Shoveler, 12 Pochard, 68 Tufted Ducks, 23 Moorhen and 220 Coot. An evening gathering of at least 16+ Mandarin Ducks on Grove Lake on the 31st was exceptional. A female Goosander was seen on the 19th, which is the earliest ever return date by ten days, and a male seen on the 30th.

The resident Kestrels and local Sparrowhawks and Buzzards seen regularly. A juvenile Hobby remained until at least the 10th, feeding on the late dragonflies. Noisy Little Owls calling during the day and Barn Owls present on Manor Farm.

Water Rail seen on Grove scrape from 26th. Common Snipe numbers increased throughout the month with up to 6 seen, and probably many more present. Lapwing numbers got up to 200+ by month end. A Curlew was present briefly on the 17th and a Redshank on the 8th. Up to 4 Green Sandpipers were resident all month.

The number of Gulls roosting on site was over 3,000 on the 1st, with 97% being Lesser Black-backed Gulls; the remainder were Herring and Yellow-legged Gulls. Many fewer numbers of Black-headed and Common Gulls present during the day.

Six late House Martins seen on the 4th, and some late Chiffchaffs reported at the beginning of the month.

A report of a possible Water Pipit on the 17th was identified as a Rock Pipit on the following day – the 4th record for the site. Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Stonechats present, with a late Whinchat on the 21st. Thrush numbers increased through the month with Redwings regularly seen on the berries in the pony paddock hedges.

Siskin and Lesser Redpoll numbers increased from the 17th, when the first Brambling was recorded. Bullfinch numbers increased at the end of the month and 21 Reed Buntings were seen on the 24th, and a Yellowhammer on the 27th.

November 2009

November was relatively mild with a couple of cold spells and 23 wet days amounting to 6 inches of rain in the month.

Up to 26 Cormorants present in the Grove Island roost. One is a bird ringed as a chick at Abberton Reservoir, in Essex, on the 26th April this year. More than 40 Mute Swans on site, including one ringed at Hurley, in Berkshire, on the 5th March 1999 as an immature bird (hatched in 1998). Up to 2 Little Egrets are now appearing daily.

Waterfowl counts on the 20th:- 15 Great crested Grebe, 25 Greylag Geese, 106 Egyptian Geese, 181 Canada Geese, 121 Wigeon, 43 Gadwall, 24 Teal, 95 Mallard, 22 Shoveler, 30 Pochard, 216 Tufted Ducks, 1 male Goldeneye, 7 Goosander, 34 Moorhen and 295 Coot. Also, good numbers of Mandarin Ducks with 15 on the 15th. There are still 17 Barnacle Geese remaining in the area. By the 27th the Goosander roost contained 8 male and 3 red-heads.

Kestrels, Sparrowhawks and Buzzards are to be seen regularly. At least one Barn Owl present on Manor Farm and Little Owls around the paddock by the car park and elsewhere. Common Snipe seen throughout the month. I’m not aware of any reports of Water Rail, but probably a few present. Lapwing numbers seem to have reduced from the 175 at the beginning of the month. The first Golden Plover of the year was seen on 11th, along with a Dunlin. Up to 2 Green Sandpipers were resident all month.

Over 600 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the evening roost on the 15th with 30 Herring and a Yellow-legged Gull. Black-headed and Common Gulls seem to roost elsewhere, but respective counts of 122 and 25 were present on the afternoon of the 25th.

Thrush numbers increased throughout the month with up to 100 Fieldfares, 30 Redwings; and increased numbers of Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Blackbirds. There are loads of berries this year. The Linnet flock has reached 25 and Siskin and Lesser Redpoll numbers increased through the month with flocks approaching 50 birds feeding on the Birch and Alder seeds.

The bird feeders are attracting good number of Blue Tits and Great Tits, and a Coal Tit on the 21st – a site rarity. Chaffinches and Greenfinches are also common on the feeders, with occasional Goldfinches and Reed Buntings. And, apparently, Roe Deer are using the feeder at night!

December 2009

The cold spell in the second half of December froze much of the open water which caused the movement of birds.

Up to 22 Cormorants, 43 Mute Swans and Little Egret were present daily. Highlight of the month was 3 Bewick’s Swans which were present on 20th; only the second record since 1993, which was of 8 seen flying over; so a “patch tick” for most of us.

Waterfowl counts on the 18th:- 14 Great crested Grebe, 16 Barnacle Geese, 52 Egyptian Geese, 175 Canada Geese, 302 Wigeon, 60 Gadwall, 35 Teal, 76 Mallard, 36 Shoveler, 17 Pochard, 140 Tufted Ducks, 20 Goosander, 25 Moorhen and 261 Coot.

The Mandarin Ducks seem to have moved to more sheltered waters in the valley. By the 30th the Goosander roost on Grove Lake contained 42 birds. There are up to 2 male Goldeneye in the area, one was seen on the river on the 13th, an unusual location. Two male Pintails were seen on the 11th, one remaining until the 12th – the first record of the year.

Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard were seen. At least one Barn Owl present on Manor Farm and at least 3 pairs of Little Owls around, including those by the paddock adjacent to the car park, which can often be seen.

Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper were seen early in the month, but not since the freeze up. 165 Lapwing early in the month, and 50 Golden Plover on the 6th.

Gull numbers have fallen again this month, Reports of less than 50 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and just a few Herring Gulls. Less than 100 Black-headed Gulls and only 20 or so Common Gulls.

A Stonechat was seen in the early part of the month. There are still good numbers of thrushes, with up to 90 Fieldfares and fewer Redwings, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds. The Linnet flock reached 20 birds. Plenty of Siskins feeding in the Birch and Alder seeds and a report of 100 Lesser Redpolls on the 18th. Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and a few Bullfinches present. Reed Buntings are still feeding at the feeding station by Colebrook Hide, although no reports of Brambling that I am aware of.

Bruce Archer

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