Once a month a group of friends and I from the Chesterfield RSPB Group take part in the British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO's) Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). This involves meeting in the bottom car park at 8.30am and walking around all three reservoirs for between 2 and 3 hours looking at and recording all the waterbirds present. We send off the data to the BTO who collect it and that of several thousand other sites around the UK and Northern Ireland to get an idea of what happening with Britain's waterbirds. As well as being a great morning's birding, it's also nice to know that we're providing some useful information to help birds around the country!
This month's walk began with temperatures of minus 3 and ended with a balmy minus 1!! A total of 8 species of waterbird were seen, which is about average for this relatively small inland waterway and not too disappointing given that most of the lower and middle reservoirs were iced over. Mallard numbers were average at 47, Tufted Duck were okay with 34, 1 Grey Heron was seen, as was 1 Little Grebe. Coot and Moorhen were also present, 10 and 3 respectively, and 23 Black-headed Gull were loafing about on the ice. The highlight of today's walk, however, was the sight of 4 Teal (2 male and 2 female) swimming about on the top reservoir, a real rarity here with only 2 previous sightings this year!!!
Next month's walk will take place on the 15th January. Who know's what will be seen???