Marbury Country Park 17.10.17

Bright, still warm for the time of year, and definitely less windy than of late

A good number of the Team gathered in the pay-and-display car park at Marbury, pleased that the weather had improved so much from the previous day and pleasantly surprised that there was no ‘paying and displaying’ to do! Signs of the recent storm were few, but unusually there was a definite dearth in avian presence amongst the trees around the car park, as though the birds had either been blown away, or were distrustful of the apparent calm and were still hunkering down somewhere. Some bird calls were heard on our way to the first of the hides, but with plenty of leaves still on the trees it was well nigh impossible to catch sight of anything. However, the first hide proved reasonably rewarding, with a variety of tits making the most of the plentiful supple of seeds that had been left out, and the good light across the Mere providing striking views of the bright green heads of male mallard and a mix of tufted ducks, coot and great crested grebe. On the far side there were plenty of birds and eventually, having walked a way along the track beside the Mere, we got better views of these which included an apparently lone curlew, a single pied wag-tail lit up in the bright sun, as well as Canada geese, black-headed gulls, lapwings and two or three cormorants.

A brief coffee break saw the arrival of a family of mute swans, two adults and three young, as well as a discussion regarding the identification of a small active duck nearby. Eventually, although no others of its species were present nearby, a consensus formed that it was a juvenile tufted duck, even though it was the size of a little grebe and seemed to be diving just as actively as that species does.

The Ice Pool hide gave excellent views of several nuthatch on the feeders and, although unfortunately this was a lone sighting, of a couple of redwing close by. At Forge Bridge there was neither sight nor sound of the Water Rail that has sometimes made its presence felt, and Haydn’s Pool was disappointingly bereft of any bird life at all. Thus it was decided to press on to Neumann’s Flash where it was understood at least one Hooper’s Swan had been seen. By this time, just after midday, the angle of the sun across the flash made observation difficult, and although there was much determined scanning none of the swans present appeared to be Hooper’s. However, we were pleased to catch glimpses of Teal, a small group of Wigeon, some Shoveler lazing on the island across from the hide and two or three Lesser Black-backed Gulls floating out on the flash.

With thoughts of lunch now coming to the forefront of minds, the group set off on the long walk back to the car park, happy to have spent a good morning in the open air, even if the birding had not been especially dramatic.

Bird List (MH)

  1. Mute swan
  2. Canada goose
  3. Wigeon
  4. Mallard
  5. Shoveler
  6. Teal
  7. Tufted duck
  8. Great crested grebe
  9. Cormorant
  10. Grey heron
  11. Coot
  12. Lapwing
  13. Curlew
  14. Black-headed gull
  15. Lesser black-backed gull
  16. Woodpigeon
  17. Pied wagtail
  18. Wren
  19. Robin
  20. Blackbird
  21. Goldcrest
  22. Long-tailed tit
  23. Coal tit
  24. Blue tit
  25. Great tit
  26. Nuthatch
  27. Jay
  28. Magpie
  29. Carrion crow
  30. Chaffinch
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