Love em - subtly beautiful birds.
570 Teal were sat out on the water with perhaps more along the reed-edge to our left we couldn't see. 20 Shovelers span around in circles sifting the first few millimetres of water, a few Teal were feeding in 'copy-cat' style. We could only see 16 Wigeon but later at the next hide we saw another 60. Pochard numbers are currently very low with just eight seen. later an odd female 'hybrid' type was noticed by MJ but it all too soon went out of view before we could get a pic of it. Tentatively put down to a Pochard/Ferruginous parentage but not showing any white under the tail.
Three male Goldeneyes were joined by a female . Notably there were few Mallards, only 22 of them with half a dozen more seen later. Over head a Snipe (89) appeared and disappeared in to the gloom. The two regular Buzzards floated around the site and three different Sparrowhawks were at large, one belted through the Feeding Station at a galloping rate of knots flushing everything. Over the fields to the east the usual pair of Kestrels hunted. The Linnet flock was counted at in the region of 175. Beyond them in the far fields was a feeding flock of about 600 Pink Footed Geese, they were too far away to get anything much from them but we can confidently say there were no Barnacle, Brent or Red Breasted Geese with them. Earlier we had passed one of the top local birders setting off to give them a good going through from much closer and seeing how nothing had come over MJs pager then there probably wasn't anything of note with them.
Up by the Feeding Station a Song Thrush sang heartily in the rain and on the walk up we saw the Blackbird with the white head we've not seen for a long time. A Cetti's Warbler sang briefly from the reeds in the corner of the reserve, later we heard it again and a second one at the opposite end when we were studying the geese.
At the Feeding Station we only saw one Tree Sparrow today, although other birders had seen more during the morning. Likewise the Brambling was seen by others earlier but not by us. A flock of Long Tailed Tits either collected water or pecked tiny bits of apple from the fruit still hanging on the trees. A Fieldfare was also in the tree until the Sparrowhawk whazzed through. A lone Jackdaw flew over.
Back on the mere a pair of Shelducks had come in from the coast.
All in all an excellent choice of venue. Our site list now stands at 58.
Where to next? Back to the patches.
In the meantime let us know what changed your mind about where to go in your outback.