Pennington Flash 27.11.18

Overcast, cold, with a strengthening breeze that eventually brought rain

A near, or actual record number of the Team gathered in the car park at 10am and, alive to the prospect of rain forecast for later in the morning, lost no time in getting down to the serious business of scanning the Flash to see which birds were present. And there were at least a couple treats, apart from the usual Coot, Mallard, Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Teal, Moorhen and Heron; a pair of Goldeneye were spotted first and then sharp eyes also made out a Goosander, which like the Goldeneye eventually flew off to another part of the lake, where it, or some of its fellows were spotted later in the morning.

Mindful of the need to keep moving in the chill breeze, we made our way first to the Horrocks Hide, which for once provided some shelter with the strengthening wind at our backs, rather than blowing into the hide through its open windows. From this comparative shelter we had good views along the spit where, as usual, a large number of Cormorants were resting together with a good number of Lapwing. A Posse of Herons were seen in the trees to our right, and further out across the water a dozen or so Goldeneye, some washed-out looking Great Crested Grebe and a solitary Oystercatcher were added to our list.

Making our way towards the Edmondson Hide, we noted the work that had been done along the track, here and further on, to open up views across the ponds, and it was at this point that many had the first sighting of a Kingfisher, a treat that was to be repeated for others, if not unfortunately all, during the course of the morning. From the hide itself there was little to see, so we soon pressed on towards the next hide and coffee, where, between sips of warming liquid we were treated to views of an initially elusive Little Egret and of a trio of Goosanders, a male and two females.

Heading for the view point at the top of the Flash, we were detained by the appearance of a good number of woodland birds in a sheltered corner of the woods; Goldfinch, Great tit, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting and Greenfinch all put in an appearance. From the viewpoint itself, we had more views of the Little Egret and the Goosander, and some Lesser Black-Backed Gull and a solitary Shelduck dabbling about out towards the spit were also spotted. Retracing our steps towards the canal, we heard the unmistakable calls of both a Cetti’s Warbler and a Water Rail, but neither bird revealed itself.

The canal and copse on the far bank proved disappointingly barren of bird life and we began in any case to quicken our pace as the odd spot or two of rain made itself felt. Back  on the track through the woods a number of birds were seen flitting back and forth, Robin and Great tit, and as we approached the golf course, across the stream, Moorhen could be seen probing in the soft turf of the greens, no doubt to the annoyance of any hardy golfers who might have been out that morning. Once again the cry of Kingfisher went up, this time however glimpsed only by a couple of our number.

At the Bunting Hide there seemed to be little on view at first, save for a good number of Moorhen (the tally for the morning must have been quite high!) and some ingenious squirrels that were working acrobatically to make the most of the food that was on offer. However, after a few minutes we were rewarded with the sight of plenty of woodland birds; Willow tit, Bullfinch (both male and female), Chaffinch, Dunnock, Great tit, Blue tit and Reed Bunting, all of which kept coming into the feeders, often so fleetingly that the only way to get a good sight of them was to leave the binoculars focussed on the feeder and wait for the birds to land there. In the tall trees behind the feeders a lucky few glimpsed a Treecreeper.

With the sound of the rain now becoming apparent on the roof of the hide, the group began to break up as people headed back towards the cars, but not before some saw Redwing feeding on the ground on the far side of the field. A dilatory few, from Pengy’s Hide, saw Shoveler, Gadwall, Little Grebe and, amongst the bright red dogwood across the pool, yet another Kingfisher that treated us to a couple of flypasts before it eventually disappeared, no doubt to seek shelter from the rain that by now had become quite persistent. Taking our cue from this wise bird, the remainder of the Team finally beat a retreat towards the cars, well content with another good morning’s birding – the last anyone will get this week, if the weather forecast is to be believed!

Bird List (M.Ha)

  1. Coot
  2. Moorhen
  3. Black-headed gull
  4. Goldeneye
  5. Goosander
  6. Mallard
  7. Canada goose
  8. Oystercatcher
  9. Magpie
  10. Wigeon
  11. Grey heron
  12. Lesser blacked-gull
  13. Cormorant
  14. Lapwing
  15. Herring gull
  16. Great-crested grebe
  17. Little grebe
  18. Teal
  19. Robin
  20. Kingfisher
  21. Carrion crow
  22. Gadwall
  23. Mute swan
  24. Little egret
  25. Long-tailed tit
  26. Starling
  27. Wood pigeon
  28. Goldfinch
  29. Kestrel
  30. Greenfinch
  31. Bullfinch
  32. Reed bunting
  33. Great tit
  34. Blue tit
  35. Shelduck
  36. Willow tit
  37. Chaffinch
  38. Dunnock
  39. Redwing
  40. Treecreeper
  41. Blackbird
  42. Shoveler
  43. Coal tit

    Photos JH and SC


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