Saturday, 27 November 2010

24th-27th November 2010

The last few days have been really cold but also really productive at the lakes, with some cold weather bird movement.

24/11/2010: Heard/saw a Marsh Tit in New Fallings Coppice. 2 Water Rails (!) seen chasing each other at water's edge near southwest corner of Windmill Pool, plus 2 Little Grebes in that area.

25/11/2010: There were 2 male Gadwalls and a male Wigeon at Terry's Pool, plus a Raven over. A Little Grebe was at Windmill Pool in the reeds at the southwest corner.

26/11/2010: Heard/saw a Marsh Tit in New Fallings Coppice again. The male Wigeon was still at Terry's Pool, with 7 Siskins in alders and 2 Ravens over vicinity. A Water Rail (heard), a male Teal and a Little Grebe were at Windmill Pool.
The day got even better as my mom who'd been in Solihull Hospital for a week was alright to come out. Parking my car at the visitor car park, my window was open and I immediately heard Waxwing calls nearby!!! I quickly spotted them at the top of a tall tree at the edge of the car park, next to Grove Road; counted 10 Waxwings there, then they flew over the car park and away, probably to roost. Unfortunately I didn't have my binoculars with me, so definitely want to see more of these erratic winter visitors, which are starting to appear in the midlands in good numbers this winter.

27/11/2010: Another great patch birding day. 2 Mistle Thrushes were along Fulford Hall Road - haven't seen many of these this year. At the lakes, Terry's Pool was completely frozen over, so the other two lakes were hogging everything. Ducks comprised a female Pintail, 2 Goosanders (unusually they landed on Engine Pool briefly but they didn't dive for any fish), 5 Teals, 2 Wigeons, 12 Tufted Ducks and (I counted exactly) 300 Mallards.
Other birds included 3 Lapwings (high over) and 10 Herring Gulls at Engine Pool; plus just 1 first-winter Mute Swan and a Raven (heard overhead) at Windmill Pool, and 6 Stock Doves at one of the Gypsy Lane horse pastures. Highlight though was a Common Snipe, which landed on one of the fishing platforms near the causeway, not far from me and so I was treated to excellent views of it. Made the long walk to Earlswood STW, where saw 2 Meadow Pipits (on filter beds - my first here and long overdue), a Treecreeper and 3 Bullfinches. Walking back along Malthouse Lane saw a flock of c. 20 Lesser Redpolls in trees beside the railway near the bridge (my first decent-sized flock of this species at Earlswood), and 50+ Starlings.

Whilst this weather is proving to be great for bringing waterbirds to Earlswood and concentrates their numbers, making them a little easier to count, I hope it doesn't last too long for their sake.

M.P. Griffiths

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