Saturday, 1 January 2022

Pochard kicks off the 2022 list!

SSW wind overcast in the morning but unseasonably warm and sunny in the afternoon.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Just a quick check......with fingers worked!
The water level on the "no swimming" pond was almost back to normal. It is controlled by a pump, but the activation signal doesn't trip till the water level is quite high. Fortunately, when it does activate it continues till the water level has returned to normal. 
Mute Swan 2 lots of 2 adult on the main pond plus 6 cygnet. The original 2 adult plus 3 cygnet (now 2nd calendar year). On "no swimming" pond.
Moorhen 8
Coot 1 back on "no swimming" pond
Mallard 4 on Main pond
Gadwall 38 all on "no swimming"
Tufted Duck 3 male
Teal 2 
Shoveler 1 mature male
Pochard 1 male - we had to wait to the very end of 2021 for the first record last year. Even so, it's not about listing for listings sake, it's about accurately monitoring the progress of a declining species in the area.
Top to bottom - male Pochard, female Teal and female Gadwall

In this clip the Pochard is diving, but it also shows how the weed is even more accessible to the dabbling ducks now, than before the water level rose, presumably its additional buoyancy in the deeper water stretched the weed.

Saltmarsh area - high water 09:40
I arrived too late for the bulk of the common snipe being flushed by the tide, but just at the right stage to check for Jack Snipe. Todays tide at 9.1m and pushed in by the south wind was perfect as it just covered all of the marsh. 
Common Snipe 6
Jack Snipe 1
I am confident that there weren't many if any more Jack Snipe, at least this one did settle again further around the marsh edge. Presumably the very wet weather recently has provided many other feeding areas (MD)
Wigeon 140
Rock Pipit 1

Shag 1 juvenile at the harbour waterfall late afternoon (seen by Pete and Jean).

North Shore
It was a very pleasant afternoon on a weekend bank holiday, everyone and their dogs were out enjoying the weather. Meanwhile the Brent were out, trying to survive, and they did an admirable job weaving amongst the walkers out from the children's play area. Although not so many today and numbers varied, the experienced Canadian pair lead the way and the others follow.
Pale-bellied Brent goose 18 is the highest count that I am aware of so far.
Five Pale-bellied Brent coming in to feed with a group already feeding out
 from Four Lane Ends steps. Their pale bellies very distinctive at this angle.

No Dark-bellied birds seen or reported so far today.