Monday, October 31, 2011

Local First

Common Crossbill
Since my visit to Draycote Water last Tuesday birding has been somewhat of a premium of late, the best of which was connecting with a Short-eared Owl at Brandon Marsh on Saturday morning.

Last Thursday I spent my usual day with the Brandon Marsh conservation team and managed to finish off Kingfisher Pool, which we've managed to open up after many years invasive growth, thanks to the current lack of water.

With little time on my hands I've still managed some local birding and this morning took the opportunity to have a look at the nearby Napton Reservoir at first light. It turned out to be a very pleasant 90-minute visit which started off with a Sparrowhawk flying low in front of the car for nearly the whole length of the road leading to the car park. The bird finally came to rest on the post of the gate that leads to Calcut Marina and offered some excellent views.

If you know the reservoir and are planning a visit soon it's worth spending a little time looking over the small building site which has appeared in the field at the marina/reservoir entrance. Here there were good numbers of finches drinking from the standing water, which included 2 Brambling amongst the Chaffinch flock. Also noted were 2 ♀Bullfinch, 11 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Pied Wagtail, 4 Fieldfare, 3 Siskin and a lone Grey Wagtail.

The best of the waterfowl on the reservoir itself were: 1 Little Grebe, 15 Wigeon, 2 Pochard, 56 Tufted Duck, 7 Teal and a single ♀Pintail. A walk to the southern top end of the reed bed flushed 2 Snipe, a Water Rail was calling from within the reeds and a Goldcrest was also feeding in the Hawthorn. When I finally arrived at the southern corner a small flock of birds caught my attention but from the calls I was already getting excited! A small number of Common Crossbill, quite flighty and I managed to count 12 birds before they made off north across the reed bed, a first for my local list.

Thirty minutes of sky watching produced of note: 28 Fieldfare, C250 Starling, 34 Redwing, 2 Siskin, 8 Lesser Redpoll, 18 Lapwing, 6 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit and 15 Skylark.