Moore 5.02.2019

Overcast but not overly cold

The first good turnout of TT Birders for 2019 squeezed their cars onto the Lapwing Lane car park looking forward to a more comfortable morning of bird watching than the previous two team outings. As team members caught up on post festive period news, conversation intermittently turned to the future of this much loved nature reserve.  Outright opposition, if not outrage, was expressed about the apparent intentions of the landowners to exploit the site’s potential for housing and other development and the resultant loss of a priceless wildlife resource, a theme which was revisited several times through the morning.

And the wildlife responded positively and immediately with mistle thrush, magpie, blackbird, and long-tailed tit making themselves known on the “dog field” adjoining the car park. A kestrel and a buzzard also made an appearance and an eagle-eyed team member spotted a treecreeper on a nearby beech tree.  Suitably encouraged, we walked across to the Grebe Hide to note that the Birchwood Pool was substantially iced over. However a wide range of wildfowl remained undeterred, and concentrated on the remaining areas of open water were wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, pochard, coot, moorhen, tufted duck, shoveler, a single great crested grebe, little grebe, mute swan, Canada geese and black-headed gulls. Even better views of shoveler and teal were afforded by the Birch Strip Hide.

Heading eastward along the track through the edges of Birch Wood, we enjoyed sightings of a song thrush foraging amongst the leaf litter and various titmice flitting through the treetops, and both a great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch were spotted flying overhead. Pump House Pool offered a far more limited range of birds, but more experienced eyes picked out a number of common gulls among a flock of black-headed gulls, their size, darker colouring and green/yellow legs being easily distinguished.

Onward to the Phoenix Hide for a hoped for sighting of the elusive bittern in the Eastern Reedbeds, but alas we were disappointed again with little signs of any birdlife. However the sighting of a raptor in a nearby tree led to a lively debate about identity with final agreement that its blue-grey upperparts and slightly red-yellow barred chest were characteristic of a male adult sparrowhawk.  And careful examination of a group of thrushes high up in far trees revealed the white eye-stripe of redwing. Returning along the track, a mixed group of goldfinch and siskin caught our attention and also that of the aforementioned sparrowhawk which swooped through scattering the group in all directions but without any success.

Diverting through Middle Moss Wood to see if any tawny owls were present in their usual haunt of ivy-covered trees, we arrived at the Feeding Station Hide and settled down to enjoy watching the frantic lunchtime of blue tit, great tit, willow tit, coal tit (an excellent chance to compare and contrast!), nuthatch, chaffinch and reed bunting. Satisfied with a productive morning, the remaining members of the team sauntered back towards the car park but took the opportunity of one last look at Lapwing Lake from the Lapwing Lane Hide. Nothing much to report ……. aside from the top spot of the day, a water rail creeping through the undergrowth on the near left hand corner of the lakeside – a very exciting climax to an excellent morning! (SC)

Bird list (MH)

  1. Mute swan
  2. Wigeon
  3. Mallard
  4. Gadwall
  5. Shoveler
  6. Teal
  7. Pochard
  8. Tufted duck
  9. Great crested grebe
  10. Little grebe
  11. Grey heron
  12. Sparrowhawk
  13. Common buzzard
  14. Kestrel
  15. Water rail
  16. Moorhen
  17. Coot
  18. Black-headed gull
  19. Common gull
  20. Wood pigeon
  21. Great spotted woodpecker
  22. Pied wagtail
  23. Dunnock
  24. Robin
  25. Blackbird
  26. Song thrush
  27. Redwing
  28. Mistle thrush
  29. Long-tailed tit
  30. Willow tit
  31. Coal tit
  32. Blue tit
  33. Great tit
  34. Treecreeper
  35. Nuthatch
  36. Jay
  37. Magpie
  38. Carrion crow
  39. Chaffinch
  40. Siskin
  41. Goldfinch
  42. Bullfinch
  43. Reed bunting

 

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