Arriving at 8.30am in the bottom car park, our group of 8 people set off around the reservoirs ticking all the usual woodland species, including Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tit as well as Nuthatch, Woodpigeon and Magpie. Robins and Dunnocks were singing, as was a single Song Thrush, our first this year.
Arriving at the middle reservoir, we were greeted by..... very little!! A few Mallard were present and both Moorhen and Coot were noted, but only in small numbers. Walking along the southern edge of the water, however, we soon started to get excited when we all heard a new call that none of us could identify. Scanning the overhanging trees we soon located the mystery bird when a Little Grebe appeared and continued its more usual "laughing" call.
We carried on up to the top reservoir where again the water was, at first sight, very quiet. After a few minutes though, we soon noted 2 Great-crested Grebes, including one in summer plumage. Treecreper was also added to the list here and a few more Mallard, Coot and Moorhen were also spotted.
After walking around the top reservoir we took a short detour away from the reservoirs to locate a small flock of Tree Sparrows that had been reported earlier in the week at a farm just above Priestfield Wood. John, the finder of the birds, had kindly come along today (thanks John, good to see you again!) and, after a short walk, we soon located 2 birds perching in a hedgerow along with some House Sparrows and a small flock of Yellowhammer. Overhead a Buzzard was seen and a Great-spotted Woodpecker, was also spotted feeding on some fat balls provided by the farm. Although not strictly within our recording area, we can note them down and keep an eye on this very interesting record. Another one for the BTO's Bird Atlas!
Returning to the water we walked down to the bottom reservoir, where the sun came out and so did the birds!! The first sight was a lovely flock of approximately 24 Mandarin Duck, followed quickly by 4 Goosander, 3 males and a female, another Little Grebe, 2 roosting Grey Herons, 1 fishing Cormorant and a good count of 24 Tufted Duck to finish off the walk.
All in all the final WeBS count for this month were: 2 Black-headed Gulls, 24 Tufted Duck, 43 Mallard, 24 Mandarin Duck, 10 Moorhen, 9 Coot, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Great-crested Grebe, 4 Goosander, 2 Grey Heron and 1 Cormorant
As always, thanks alot to all the people who turned up again this month and fingers crossed for the first Chiffchaffs at next month's walk!! See you all on 12th March.