Saturday, 16 January 2016

Winter WeBS

Thankfully the weather was dry and bring for out monthly count of all the wildfowl and waders on the reserve today after the crappy conditions of recent days but despite it being much colder, there was no visible increase in bird numbers

Water levels have been low for a week or so now which has been loved by the teal feeding around the edges of the lagoons but today they were obvious by their absence. The fresh marsh was packed with large gulls probably as a result of the strong winds attracting them in to the razorshell and starfish wreck on the beach. 3 yellow-legged gulls were about but from my position, all the birds were back on to me making them hard to go through. My full count produced 822 herring, 2 LBB, 150 common but sadly none of the yellow-legged.
A barn owl carrying food from Patsy's reedbed to their usual nest site was interesting record this early in the year.

I finished my count and headed around to the west bank to join up with Dave and Chris foe a look at the sea. The tide was still a bit too high making viewing birds in the swell very difficult. There were small numbers of mergs, scoter and goldeneye but looking for anything else amongst them was pointless. Two small groups of eider and a couple of immature gannet were added to my yearlist.
I decided to leave Dave and Chris and walk down the beach towards Brancaster to check through the gulls and look for a small flock of finches I had seen earlier in the day. A nice adult med gull was in the flock but no white wingers I had hoped for. I did pick up a couple of colour ringed herring gulls but they were flushed by a group of muppets before I could see them properly!

After lunch I spent most of the afternoon watching the fresh marsh. There seemed to be mlre teal than in the morning and I spent a bit of time counting and checking through the birds. 20 avocet (1 colour-ringed), 58 pintail, 452 brent geese, 77 blackwits, 48 dunlin, 73 mallard and a water rail feeding on the reed edge near Island Hide.
Despite the tide now being out, another look at the sea didn't produce a great deal apart from a big increase in common gulls (2500) now the shells and starfish were exposed and a close in guillemot (yeartick) flying past.

A first good full day out on the patch takes my yearlist over the 100 mark with 103 species recorded so far.

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