Overcast, drizzly and dank (but not miserable)
The early morning promise of clear skies, albeit tinged with red (shepherds beware!) was not maintained, and as some fourteen members of the team left the NT car park the first spots of rain fell. Over the next couple of hours the rain continued, never a downpour but just a drizzle of greater or lesser extent that seemed to discourage all but a few birds, with the result that our day list was considerably lighter than usual.
However, lured onwards by those perennial Dunham quests – a sighting of the Kingfisher, a glimpse of the Green Woodpecker and reports of the Goosander on one of the pools in the park – our stalwart group pressed on, greeted, sadly, not by a sighting of the Kingfisher, but by a gathering of Mallard, Tufted Ducks and Coots mistaking us for the more regular visitors to the park who arrive laden with bags of food. Movement in the trees and sky above drew eyes upwards, but all that was revealed were a few Starlings and groups of Jackdaw, squawking their way towards the main part of the park where the soft ground was offering plentiful feeding to these strong-billed birds.
In the park itself, the raucous cry of a Jay called our attention to a pair of these active birds, foraging amongst the leaves, and the movement of Jackdaws in the tussocky ground raised false hopes of spotting the Green Woodpecker in the same location. With only the reports of the Goosander now to keep us going, we continued round the eastern edge of the park, pausing briefly to scan a field where a tractor was busy turning over the rich earth. Gulls, Pheasant, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Pied Wagtail were all noted; welcome additions to our meagre list.
The last pool failed to hold those hoped-for Goosander, but by now the prospect of warm surroundings and good food drew the team towards a nearby hostelry, where we spent the
next couple of hours in a convivial atmosphere compiling a day list (the not-seen list seemed to grow at an alarming rate), tossing around ideas for future expeditions and, of course, eating and drinking.
With the drizzle at last having ceased we eventually began making our way back to the car park in twos and threes, adding on our way individual sightings of Wren, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Grey Wagtail and others, reminders of trips past and, hopefully, auguries of trips to come.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!
Bird List (BP)
- Tufted Duck
- Black-headed Gull
- Collared Doves
- Pied Wagtail
- Long-tailed Tit
- Blue Tit
- Great Tit
- Carrion crow