1-31 January 2010 blog and sightings

Ring-necked Duck, WWT Slimbridge, South Lake, MJMcGill

31 January 2010 At WWT South Lake the birding was very good today. I checked ut a report of a strange duck that was seen by John Budd and it turned out to be a female/immature Ring-necked Duck. It was 5.00pm and getting dark. A Smew, Ruddy Duck and Goldeneye were also present as was a White-fronted Goose and earlier in the day a Pink-footed Goose.



26 January 2010 A nice surpise to see a Pink-footed Goose in with 356 E. White-fronted Geese at WWT today. The Goldeneye was still showing very well at times in front of the Peng obs.

Pink-footed Goose bottom left bird in the Bottom New Piece

Pink-footed Goose 26 January 2010 WWT MJMcGill 010

24-25 January 2010 Back at WWT with some quality birding with the winter flocks and the Canada Goose showing characters of Todd’s remains among the Canada flock. A redhead Smew and the Bittern were both seen at WWT today.

Crossbills at Brierley

Crossbills, Forest of Dean 23 January 2010 MJMcGill 002

23 January 2010 A day out to the Forest of Dean guiding an Anser Birding group. We had good views of Hawfinches, Crossbills, Goshawk and lots of other birds, I will post a short trip report on the relevant page (trip reports).

A ‘White-headed’ Dunlin, WWT Tack Piece.

White-headed Dunlin 17 January 2010 MJMcGill 011

22nd January 2010 My local Skylarks have returned, numbering c50, last Sunday and Monday saw a passage of Skylark over WWT all heading N or NE. I have heard that a similar movement was noted at Aylburton, Lydney and Walmore Common on the same days and involving hundreds of birds. Also added Reed Bunting to my local patch list, one was with 5 Yellowhammers near my home.

18-21 January 2010 As 17-18th.

17-18 January 2010 At WWT the thaw has let many birds back into the area, the Canada Goose showing characteristics of Todd’s was still showing well on the Rushy today and yesterday at the feed. It flies onto the Dumbles with the flock of 410 Canada’s. The female Goldeneye was still here also. Two Bitterns remain on the reserve, I managed some decent pics today in the sun. I will upload them when I can.

16 January 2010 No birding today.

15 January 2010 No birding today.

14 January 2010 Again the  goose that shows features of Branta candensis interior  or Todd’s Canada was on the Rushy this morning. The female Goldeneye was also present. I was delighted to see two Woodcock at the South Finger reedbed this morning.  Andy Jayne saw three Red-crested Pochard on the canal at Splatt and also had 5 Whooper Swans near Lydney the day before so it proves there are plenty of birds moving about.

13 January 2010
Watch BBC2 at 8.00pm tonight for Snow Watch featuring WWT Slimbridge.

Bird of the day at WWT was a Canada Goose as found by JSL which shows features of Branta candensis interior  or Todd’s Canada.

12 January 2010 Mike Youdale and I saw a female Merlin on the Dumbles, lots of wildfowl around the ‘water holes’ of South Lake and the Rushy.

11 January 2010 A female Goldeneye has been on the Rushy the last couple of days but a male Red-crested Pochard was a bonus, the regular female Red-crested Pochard x Mallard hybrid was also still present.

10 January 2010 I spent the day with the BBC at WWT Slimbridge trying to get footage of birds in the snow. We did manage to get some results and the programme goes out on Wednesday night at 8.00pm (I think). As a result I did not get a chance to have a good look around.

At least 116 Red-crested Pochard were reported around the country today as far East as the Ouse in Cambs (29 seen) and Cliffe in Kent (7 seen) but 2 had reached Helston/Marazion in Cornwall.

Four Red-crested Pochard were at Frampton today, I did see a couple here last winter but they are uncommon in our area and fairly common in the Cotwold Water Park. Studying the movements of these birds today shows reports of 14 at Cheddar Reservoir, Somerset, one in Devon, four in Hampshire at coastal sites. In the Midlands 25 were in Northants, 2 Berks and 5 in Beds with one as far west as Pembrokeshire. Are these the Wilts/Glos CWP population dispersing or genuine immigrants? Any counts from CWP should reveal what is happening. Ex Gloucestershire county recorder Andy Jayne brought up a very good point last night, where are the Red-necked Grebes? we normally see an influx in such a winter.

Red-crested Pochard, Frampton Pools 9 January 2010 MJMcGill

9 January 2010 A walk around Frampton Court Lakes footpaths revealed c50 Redwing feeding in snow free patches and 2 Siskin, on the Court Lake c800 birds held a Ruddy Duck and 4 Red-crested Pochard plus c8 Little Grebe and 4 Great Crested Grebe.

Sleeping Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck, Frampton Pools 9 January 2010 MJMcGill

8 January 2010 Still lots of birds visiting the garden, perhaps 150 or more. Great spotted Woodpecker and male Blackcap and c5 Fieldfare among them.

A phantom view of Bittern

Bittern, WWT 7 January 2010 MJMcGill 001

7 January 2010 A very very cold night and day for the birds. On South Lake I saw a female and first winter male Smew and also on the reserve at WWT at least two Bitterns. A selection of images from the stunningly beautiful day at the trust.

Blue Tit and bullrushLumix 7 January 2010 MJMcGill

Frozen saltmarsh Lumix 7 January 2010 MJMcGill

Cetti’s Warbler, a sad casualty of the big freeze…

Cetti's Warbler (died due to cold and starvation) 7 January 2010 MJMcGill

Meadow Pipit in the snow 7 January 2010 MJMcGill

Bewick's Swans return from Severn 7 January 2010 MJMcGill

6 January 2010 The heavy snow has brought many more birds into my garden, I have placed halved apples everywhere to create an orchard and this has brought in up to 20 Fieldfare and a new female Blackcap. I have 30 Chaffinch as other feeding sites may be covered with snow. The water has also been popular but needs changing regularly. Common and Black-headed Gull and Magpie are also on the ground in the garden which is unusual. At WWT 300+ Bewick’s Swans are on the Rushy, a good count.

5 January 2010 At WWT Slimbridge the freezing conditions and eventually today, snow has concentrated the birds. A female Smew, probably an adult, female Goldeneye and a male Ruddy Duck could be see with 32 Ruff (probably a winter record), 60 Gadwall and 237 Shelduck, a count of Tufted Duck revealed 666 on site! The Bittern showed at the Zeiss Hide again today.

Smew, female, probably adult MJM
It lacks the black mask that always seems to be apparent on first winter males and any white in the plumage other than what shows on adult females. The white cheek area is not extensive as I have seen in first winter males.

Smew, WWT South Lake, 5 January 2010 MJM

Smew WWT South Lake, 5 January 2010 001

4 January 2010 After ringing 49 duck in the morning (13 in the evening) I re-checked out reports of a swan stuck in ice to find it had freed itself despite leaving many feathers behind. I did see a Bittern, 3 Water Rail, 900 Teal, 4 Snipe, 2 Jack Snipe, a Rock and Water Pipit whilst around the North end of the reserve.

1-3 January 2010 No birding during the first couple of days of the year but back at WWT on 3rd a few birds were on show.

Blue Tit at the end of 2009 MJM

Blue Tit and Bullrush 2009 MJMcGill

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