Saturday, 24 January 2015

What a difference a Med makes...

I was going to headline this 'Walthamstow twinned with Punxsutawney' such had been the Groundhog Day nature of this visit. As the Prof reported, the cold weather seems to have little impact on the birds except perhaps for a few more Teal around. The result was that this day-long visit was remarkably similar to last week's (and not very different to the week before). The adult drake Scaup was still sleeping at the bottom of Lockwood, the pair of Goldeneye were at the top and a couple of Chiffchaffs and Meadow Pipits were seen on the way from bottom to top. The only difference was it was a Peregrine hunting over the top fields while last week it had been a Kestrel and the week before a Sparrowhawk. I left the north reservoirs on pretty much the same total of species - 45 - as I had the previous two weeks.

            The sense of deja vu carried over to No 5 with a Common Sandpiper and four more Goldeneye. As I trudged around West Warwick a good five hours after I first arrived at the reservoirs, I was thinking that this was something of an endurance test and not exactly bothered that I won't be able to repeat it next week. But as I reached the southern end, I looked up to see a large very red bill attached to a gull flying over and my mood instantly changed. It was not the same as Pete's Mediterranean Gull last week as today's bird was close to summer plumage with a complete, if not entirely filled in yet, hood. It was low but carried on either to join the Black-heads on the canal or beyond.

            As often happens, almost immediately I had filled the embarrassing gap in my reservoir year list with a Goldcrest in the bushes opposite the rowing club where there were also a couple of Chiffchaffs including a pretty yellow bird with, on a short view, quite bright legs. Fifty yards further on where the  two young drake Scaup which had returned from yesterday's trip to No 4 and are beginning to look less tatty. Add in no less than three Stonechats around West Warwick and a lovely drake Goldeneye (there was another female on East Warwick as well) and it all suddenly seem a good way to spend seven hours in the sunshine.

 DB @porthkillier

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