Tuesday 17 January 2023

Plenty of displaced Teal

A freezing night with a sunny morning, abruptly turning into a, fortunately short lived, blizzard after lunch. More snow and hail/rain showers in the afternoon. Very light variable breeze till mid afternoon when it strengthened from the NW.

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD/JP)
The main pond was iced over again, apart from a hole maintained by the Mute Swan family and Mallard. 
Plenty of Black-headed gulls on the ice but none ringed.
Janet checked later in the morning than I did, by that time the swans had
Broken a path from their hole to the feeding area
This is another area where visitors regularly leave food, not just for the wildfowl but the smaller birds too.

If you open this shot of Janet's, you can easily read the characters of this
Great Tit's ring - unfortunately, not enough of them to be able to identify it

The water level on the "no swimming" pond is dropping quickly, and was surprisingly ice free. This pond is normally the first to freeze, perhaps the greater volume of water retains more "heat". It's still about a metre higher than its normal,level, but obviously the pump is operating now and I expect it to be at its usual level by tomorrow.
This dark line, half way up the bushes is where the water was only yesterday 
The tops of the reeds are just starting to show again.

Even so the current depth is too much to allow the dabbling ducks to reach the weed. But Coots dive then dabble, or in this case, dabble then dive. You can hear male Teal calling in the background.

There were 24 Teal on this pond plus at least 10 on Tim Butler pond. A flock of 30+ flew over towards the central marsh. 64 minimum.
This male Teal was seeing off the others, the initial altercation is followed by what appears to be ritual mimicry (or, perhaps, just taking the mickey!)
Mallard 14
Gadwall 18 many just resting in the shelter of the margin bushes.
No Tufted Duck today, there were 4 males yesterday 
Little grebe 1 - this is the first record since the last freeze.
This clip, begins with Gadwall resting in the margins, past some of the Teal and ends on the Little grebe and a Mallard pair.
A second pair of Mute Swans are now on Tim Butler pond.

South shore (MD)
I exercised my daughter's dog along the sea wall at lunchtime, fortunately just getting back to my car as the blizzard started.
Cormorants lined up on the seaward end of No.2 outflow. It looks like they
are taking a sauna, but that damp air will be a lot colder than it looks.

Rock Pipit 2 - Red Nab and sea wall near wooden jetty

Kittiwake c30 - there were 20+ near the harbour waterfall plus at least 10 along the sea wall, most on No.1 outflow. This first winter, very kindly did a pirouette to display all its plumage detail.