Saturday, 15 January 2011

Linacre WeBS Walk - January 15th 2011

9 people braved the awful weather forecast to join me for the first BTO WeBS walk of the new year (many thanks for the great turn out!) Despite a slightly damp start and a few rain showers, the morning walk turned out to be much more enjoyable than I had imagined it would with a total of 23 species seen  and a great opportunity to catch up with several people who I hadn't seen for quite awhile!

The first, and for me at least, the best birds of the day were 2 male Goosander found swimming on the bottom reservoir. This species is an annual winter visitor to Linacre, usually seen between January and April and again in November and December. It can, however,be quite tricky to catch up with, so today's sighting was quite special.

Male Goosander

Also on the bottom reservoir this morning were good numbers of Tufted Duck (30 in total), 1 Little Grebe, a Cormorant perched high up in a tree, the first of 83 Mallards, as well as Mandarin, Moorhen and Coot. A Grey Wagtail found by the river was the first for the year and a welcome sight after all the cold weather in December.

Walking up to the middle reservoir we soon came across more waterbirds, including 14 Black-headed Gulls, another Little Grebe and an amazing 41 Mandarin Ducks.

Male Mandarin hiding behind some branches!

Continuing on up the valley through the woods towards the top reservoir we soon added a few woodland birds such as Treecreeper, numerous Nuthatch and the usual tit species. The reservoir itself was pretty quiet with just a few more Mallards, Coot and Moorhen. The last bird species of the day was another new one for the year; Jay, 2 of which were heard and seen around the car park, as we were changing out of our muddy boots.

Also of note were a pair of "boxing" Brown Hares seen in the field by the main entrance whilst driving out- very nice!

Next month's walk takes place on Saturday 12th February, meeting in the bottom car park at 8.30am and is open to anyone, so please feel free to come along and join in. Who knows what we'll see?

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