Monday, 8 February 2021

Beast 2 - Day 1.... it was really quite pleasant

Today's title refers to the cold spell, that we are just starting, being heralded as "the beast from the east 2". The first beast in 2018 really was savage, the current cold spell is not forecast to be as bad, but the most sever we've had since then. 
A ground frost overnight froze the surface water but only the margins on the ponds. The ENE wind was still very cold, but suitably wrapped against the wind, it felt quite pleasant in the occasional sunshine (although I wouldn't want to spend the night out in it!). Just a few light snow flurries so far.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
I managed a full circuit today (MD)
Mute 2 adult 2+1 juvenile 
Coot 6
Moorhen 8
Gadwall 25 (21 on Tim Butler pond)
Mallard 5
Teal 9 
Two of the Teal coming in to land on the fence pond

Little grebe 2 - both birds together again. One is still trilling, I was hoping to catch it on this clip, but it, stubbornly, remained silent.

Although it was a pleasant morning for a walk, it clearly wasn't springlike, apart from the Little grebe there were no birds singing today.
The other day I commented on how the tree buds were swelling, this female Bullfinch had also noticed.
There are routinely 6 Bullfinch in this area between the golf course and Tradebe. If they all feed at this rate, it must make quite an impact on the trees.

I thought that this was encouraging. United Utilities have done a lot of civil engineering on the southern boundary of the reserve. It is now complete and the area is now being landscaped.
They have already planted some trees/shrubs, but also sprayed some sort of fibre over the banking.
This is a close up of the fibre, presumably it has little nutrient value, but it will add structure
to the soil and stabilise the banking. Clearly they are not just paying lip service to the operation.
This is one of the positive signs of our times,
40 years ago you would have been lucky if the whole area wasn't concreted over!

A quick scan of the skeer at low water couldn't locate any Brent geese
Goldeneye 1 male

The Norwegian yellow flagged juvenile Oystercatcher was back on the football pitch next to the cricket ground today
There had been around 12 regularly feeding here till the ground froze in early January. An adult plus 2 juvenile have returned, just in time for it to freeze again. They obviously like it here, and this adult shows why.
Please let me know of any future sightings of the flagged bird, particularly if seen away from this area