Saturday, 25 December 2021

The sounds of Christmas present

A very cold and quite fresh east wind. Sunny spells and showers in the morning mainly dry after lunch.

North shore
Just a quick check of the children's play area to the waterline and back.
Pale-bellied Brent goose 15 close in just north of the play area. I took this clip hoping to catch the sounds of Christmas from here, St Peter's church bells were ringing and a background of dogs out with their new squeaky toys - I seem to recall Christmas mornings were always busy with children with their new toys, still it was a cold wind! Unfortunately the cold wind also proved a noisy one. You may just be able to hear the bells tolling during part of this clip, but you'll have to imagine the squeaky toys. Still, the Geese weren't disturbed. (MD)

Mediterranean gull 1 adult, also near the play area
Mediterranean gull foreground with Black-Headed gull
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Great Crested Grebe 1

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just the two main ponds checked, but it was quite interesting, not so much for the bird content, but the distribution. It at least answered one question from earlier in the winter.
When I arrived there was no one there, and no wet tracks out of the car park, so there had been either no or very little earlier disturbance. Most of the Gadwall were happily feeding on the main pond. This is obviously their pond of choice, and explains why it was this pond where they maintained a pocket in the ice when the ponds froze last month. But Gadwall (and Teal) are more flighty than the other duck visitors, and the main pond is normally quite busy.
Main Pond
Mute Swan 6 cygnets
Moorhen 3
Mallard 12
Gadwall 37
Tufted duck 1 
These are some of the feeding Gadwall, they appear to be reaching the weed more easily here than on the "no swimming" pond.

No swimming pond
Mute Swan 2 adult 3 cygnets 
Coot 1
Moorhen 4
Gadwall 4 (so 41 total again)
Wigeon 2 (pair)
Tufted Duck 3 males, later joined by the bird from the main pond.
Shoveler 2. We now also have a female, but I would hesitate to call them a pair yet. This is the female, with a couple of Gadwall and a Tufted.

The male wasn't too far away, there can't be many ponds around here where you can capture four duck species on one frame.
All males! Shoveler, Wigeon, Tufted and Gadwall 

Out of the recording area: information via Pete:
Black Redstart 1 female/immature. Showing on at least two occasions on the rocks opposite the blue house (by Stanley Rd).