Sunday, 14 December 2014

Birds at Winkworth, 13th-14th December

A chilly weekend with two sharp frosts, particularly Saturday when shadier spots in the arboretum remained frozen throughout the day. It was a great weekend for birds though, with 49 species recorded in all, two of them new for my Winkworth list (highlighted in red).

Saturday got off to a good start with a Raven flying northeast low over Rowe's Flashe Lake as I opened up the boathouse first thing. On the water there was the usual drake Pochard, a Little Grebe and a couple of Cormorants amongst the Mallards and Tufted Ducks. Moving on to check out the Bluebell Wood and Phillimore Wetland I heard a Water Rail calling north of the boardwalk across the bog.

There were lots of birds around the property yard and nursery areas too, including the Pheasant, Mistle Thrush and Bullfinch pictured below, as well as plenty of Redwings and a few flyover Redpolls.

While checking the site on Sunday morning I noted a Roe Deer in-between the Spring Walk and Fiona Adams Steps, a Stock Dove singing in Bluebell Wood and the Water Rail squealing again in Phillimore. Rowe's Flashe held Pochard, Little Grebe and 4 Mandarin Duck. Stopping briefly on the southern edge of Bluebell Wood I heard the distinctive call of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker towards the other side of Phillimore. I unfortunately wasn't able to locate the bird but the habitat is just right so perhaps it will be a regular visitor through the winter at least. Whilst in Phillimore I saw two Egyptian Geese flying west above the trees. There were noticeably more Gulls flying over on Sunday morning also - mostly Lesser Black-backed and heading west/southwest - the icy weather evidently impelling them to move. At the end of the working day I paid a flying visit to the northeastern corner of the site in the hope of hearing a Tawny Owl. No such luck, unfortunately, but a Woodcock flying out of Phillimore at dusk was an excellent consolation.

Pheasant foraging for chestnuts in the leaves

Mistle Thrush

Male Bullfinch feeding on Sorbus berries

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