Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Birds at Winkworth, 26th-31st December 2014

You may remember I ended my last blog post talking about Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming. Well, it proved to be rather prophetic as there were at least two doing just that in the warm sunshine in Bluebell Wood on the morning of the 27th, and again on the 28th.

A notable omission from the Winkworth historic bird list was Common Gull, however this was rectified on Boxing Day when seven of them flew west-southwest over the site. On the 27th at least twenty Herring Gulls flew north, while Sunday saw large numbers of gulls of various species moving mostly south.

The lone drake Pochard remained on Rowe's Flashe Lake, joined by a second one on the 28th and a third on the 31st. A pair of Gadwall turned up on the 30th - signs of some cold weather movement, as there have been some particularly harsh frosts these past few mornings and the lake has been partially frozen.

A frosty Phillimore, looking rather more like a scene from Narnia!

A partially frozen Rowe's Flashe

The Water Rail is still around, predominantly in Phillimore, north of the footbridge, although at dusk on the 30th there was one squealing in the reeds on the eastern side of Rowe's Flashe, adding further weight to my suspicion that there may actually be more than one bird on site - on the 28th I heard what sounded very much like two calling together in Phillimore.

Other highlights from the past few days have included two Egyptian Geese east early on the 28th followed closely by a Brambling calling in or over Phillimore (heard but not seen). On the 29th a Buzzard flew low over the boathouse first thing then was later seen soaring over Rowe's Flashe Meadow. On the same day there were nine Canada Geese on Rowe's Flashe Lake - actually something of a scarcity here - and later a female Tawny Owl calling in Bluebell Wood. Just before closing time on the 30th a Raven flew east-northeast so low over the upper arboretum I could hear its wingbeats! The year, and my working week, ended on a high on the 31st with a Firecrest in a group of Hollies along the public footpath just southeast of the main car park.

If you've visited the arboretum recently you may have seen our bird-friendly Christmas tree by the kiosk, decorated with fat balls and pine cones stuffed with fat and seed (picture below). I made some more decorations at the weekend and had plenty to spare so hung a few around our work yard, much to the delight of the Tits and Blackbirds!

Anyway, that's all for now...Happy New Year, everyone - see you in 2015!

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