This morning and early afternoon was taken up completing the WeBs count at Pitsford Reservoir. This was in mild spring-like weather and the bird song was often quite deafening! Cormorants were ensconced on their nests and the Rooks were patching up their stick nest colony. The Great Crested Grebes were displaying and Little Grebe and Coot were seen carrying weed and sticks.
The water levels are very high and much of the water north of the causeway is brown and these conditions probably caused the complete absence of Shoveler and Pintail. Nevertheless there were plenty of water birds present, the majority having been present since the late autumn.
Two Great White Egrets were still in the Moulton Grange Bay and the Great Northern Diver had been pushed in to the Moulton Grange Bay from the Holly Tree area by the many yachts on the water. Two Smew were present - a drake just off the causeway and a 'redhead' in the Holcot Bay. A single drake Goosander flew in to the Scaldwell Bay and at least five Red-crested Pochard were mostly hidden in the waterside willows in the Walgrave Bay.
Waders included about a hundred mobile Golden Plover, a Green Sandpiper, two Redshank and c78 Snipe. A Peregrine kept them watchful. A Chiffchaff was in bushes near to the causeway and a pair of Willow Tit were a welcome sight in the Scaldwell Bay. Half a dozen flighty redpoll sp were south of the causeway.
A recce at Blueberry Farm this afternoon was brought to a swift conclusion with dramatic and powerful weather hurtling in from the west and south which included very strong gusts, rain, hail and lightning and thunder! We managed two Red Kites and a Woodcock before retreating to the car.
A period of ringing at Stortons Gravel Pits this morning with John Woollett and team resulted in 73 birds being caught, 43 of them being new birds. Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Blackbird and Great Tit were the most common species captured.
Eleanor and Neil
Little Grebe at Pitsford Res
Courtesy of Jacob Spinks