Pennington Flash 16.01.18

Strong wind, wintry, squally showers

A hardy dozen of the team gathered in the car park just after 10am and wasted no time in making their way to the shelter of Bunting hide. There, we were rewarded with the sight of plenty of woodland birds making the most of the feeding opportunities, and, given that Spring cannot be too far away, beginning to look their brightest and their best in mating plumage. Blue tits, Willow tits, Reed Buntings, Bullfinches, Chaffinches and Robins were all in evidence, joined on the ground by Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove and Moorhen, the latter two species present in good number. We even had a brief sight of the Water Rail that frequents this corner of the reserve, before a sudden hail shower sent all the birds scurrying for cover.

With the cold beginning to penetrate and a promising, but alas only temporary clearing of the skies, it was decided to head on towards our next objective, Teal hide. Pausing briefly to admire a couple of Song Thrushes, we pressed on, but progress was suddenly halted by the sharp eyes of one of our number who had spotted the electric blue of a Kingfisher perched on a low branch overlooking a small pool three or four metres from the path. Although the bird did not emerge from cover, most were able to get a view, before it dived and then flew off further back into the undergrowth, no doubt to devour whatever it had caught, away from prying eyes! Setting off once again, our attention was next drawn to the tops of the alders alongside the path where there was plenty of activity. The light at this point made identification difficult, but eventually some clarity (both of mind and light) led to the identification of these birds as Redpoll.

At Teal hide, the hight water levels had attracted a fair mix of waterfowl and given the brightness, we had good views of male and female Goosander, Gadwall, Coot and Teal. Careful scanning of the island directly in front of the hide eventually revealed a lone Snipe whose colouration made it extremely difficult to pick out on the rocky water’s edge until it moved.

A longish trek to Ramsdale hide saw us crossing paths with a couple of late arrivals who had chosen to do the tour in the opposite direction and from the hide itself we had views of Goldeneye, a good number of great Crested Grebe, more Goosander, and, after a lot directional instructions, of a pair of Little Grebe that were actively fishing way over towards the far bank of the flash. At Edmundson hide a Little Egret was present and we also admired the antics of Shoveler, some of whom were circling round and round, no doubt to disturb food from the bottom of the pond, and others whose bobbing head displays appeared to have more to do with the approaching mating season. Our final, and brief stop was at Horrocks hide, but the northerly wind was blowing straight into the hide (doesn’t it always?) and after adding Herring Gull and Lapwing to our morning’s list, it was decided to call a relatively early end to what, despite the weather, had turned out to have been a rewarding first trip of our 2018 season (… and we had avoided the showers!)

Bird List (DL)

  1. Goldeneye (M&F)
  2. Blackbird (M&F)
  3. Robin
  4. Coot
  5. Lesser Black Backed Gull
  6. Herring Gull
  7. Black-Headed Gull
  8. Dunnock
  9. Shoveler (M&F)
  10. Canada Goose
  11. Mute Swan
  12. Mallard
  13. MoorHen
  14. Pied Wagtail
  15. Stock Dove
  16. Wood Pigeon
  17. Great Tit
  18. Blue Tit
  19. Willow Tit
  20. Chaffinch (M&F)
  21. Bullfinch (M&F)
  22. Reed Bunting (M&F)
  23. Water Rail
  24. Kingfisher
  25. Redpoll
  26. Magpie
  27. Gadwall (M&F)
  28. Goosander (M&F)
  29. Tufted Duck (M&F)
  30. Heron
  31. Little Egret
  32. Teal (M&F)
  33. Snipe
  34. Great Crested Grebe
  35. Little Grebe
  36. Cormorant
  37. Lapwing
  38. Mallard (M&F)

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