Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The early cloud had burnt back by the time I got out on patch after work this afternoon, leaving a bright day but with a cold wind.

As is usual at this time of year, I wandered over to the lakes again, seeing KESTREL, BUZZARD and SPARROWHAWK up hunting over the Tree Nursery as I passed through, but little passerine activity was noted.

Two TREECREEPERS chased around the trunk of an Oak that stands on the sunny side of the Wet Woods at this time of day, also seen there was a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER.

I always feel a surge of anticipation as I approach the Lakes, what would I find ? The majority of the time I just record the Mallards and Moorhens, sometimes a few Geese, with maybe a Cormorant or Grey Heron, the Coot pair have recently added some interest, but i'm always on the lookout for a duck species :-) Having seen Gadwall, Teal and Goosander on recent visits, I was pretty much resigned to that being it for a while, but no, after quickly locating the COOT pair, and seeing a KINGFISHER fly past, I soon had great views of a GOOSANDER, another female, thats the 3rd Goosander record this month! That wasn't the big excitement though, for as I tried to manoeuvre for a photograph of the Goosander, a pair of WIGEON (74, 66) swam out of the overhanging tree branches, wow! Another year tick, and just the sort of thing I was hoping for, this is the best winter yet for ducks on these small lakes  :-) Just one pair of MALLARD, 5 CANADA GEESE and 6 MOORHEN were also present.

I watched the Goosander and Wigeon for a few minutes, and heard NUTHATCH, BULLFINCH, and COAL TIT call from the Scrubby Woods as well as a few SISKIN flying over.

I got some sort of record photo, only of the male Wigeon though, as they quickly swam into another tree overhang and didn't re-emerge again.
Wigeon - a cracking drake :-) Not a good image, as the only real place to photograph anything on the water is always facing into the light at this time of day
After creeping back out of the lake area, so as not to flush the Goosander and Wigeon, I made my way over to the Greenhouse Grounds, but again passerine activity was very limited, only a GOLDCREST and a couple more Siskin in the Alder Trees were of note. A scan across Migrant Alley provided me with views of 2 COMMON GULL, as well as about 40-60 FIELDFARE and 2 MISTLETHRUSH on the sheep pasture.

Knowing that the LITTLE OWLS like a bit of sunshine, I decided to walk over to the Greenhouse Copse where they can be found, if not already disturbed, sunbathing at their favourite perch. Today I got lucky and found two, but only one was in a position to photograph  :-)
Little Owl
Little Owl
So yet another good patch visit, the Wigeon takes the year list to 74 now, I might get a tilt at the quickest 100 bird species recorded on my patch at this rate, that was achieved back in 2009, when I had amassed 100 species by May 17th, Ive not got anywhere near that record since! Interestingly, in that year I had one less species on the list by todays date  :-)

The months list is moving at a pace now, 66 species is the 3rd best February, and is just 3 off setting a new record.  Ive got the rest of the week off work now, so i'll be all out to achieved it, the likes of Yellowhammer, Lapwing, or one of the local Peregrines may well turn up, or maybe my luck will continue at the lakes, a Mandarin Duck isn't out of the question :-)


Anonymous said...

Keep them year ticks a coming Warren :). Bitterly cold up here today...and no sign of the sun...which made it even worse.

Marc Heath said...

Another good trip, whats tomorrow then Warren? I shall wait with baited breath.

Warren Baker said...

It was a bit colder here today dean, but nice in the sun :-)

Warren Baker said...

Hi Marc,
Something to visit the lakes,............Hmmmmmm.......... I think a Tufted Duck would make me happy :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Bring on the ducks! Where did that Baikal Teal go...coming to lake near you???



Jason K said...

Drake Wigeon on your patch! you lucky man.

Captains Pool has been very poor for wildfowl this Tufted or shoveler...let alone a wigeon!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
You are certainly on a roll with the duck species .
Well done with the Wigeon and another Goosander .

Alan Pavey said...

Wow, you are having a real wildfowl bonanza there mate, excellent stuff. I might camp by the lakes here until somethi ng turns up :-)

ShySongbird said...

You're doing very well this year so far Warren and the lakes are becoming really busy :-) When did you last see Wigeon there?

Of course you know how envious I am of the owls, great photos of it :-)

Pj1973 said...

Wow as if your mallards become as common as your rarities! What patch watching is about- brilliant

Joe said...

Its seems you're seeing so many different duck species at the moment, well done for spotting those. I should pay a bit more attention to the lake here on campus but I tend to get distracted by the birds in the shrubs around the lake, and in the woodland. Nice photos of that Little Owl as well.

It could be that the cold weather we're expecting over the next few days might just bring a few more interesting visitors to your patch :)

Warren Baker said...

Although Wigeon turned up in October and December last year, I only had one other record of them, that was back in Nov. 2010, when it was a patch first. So I have just 4 records in 12 years :-)

Warren Baker said...

Check everything! This easterly wind may blow a snipe or woodcock across from the continent, dont forget the Bramblings too :-)