Not much to report from Saturday as we were led on a wild duck chase after Alan and i had made it all the way to the Marsh hide in a frozen Grove Ferry noting only 7 Marsh harriers. A call from Marc Heath had us rushing (ell, fatsish walking) back to the car as the Scaup he had found yesterday was showing charataristics of Lesser Scaup. Sadly however, by the time we’d reached Westbere Marc and Brendan had discovered it was a hybrid. A very smart looking bird nevertheless. On a return visit at midday with Brendan, amongst 4500 Herring Gulls i managed to locate a 1st winter Caspian Gull and shortly after Brendan found a drake Mandarin. Along with Brendan and Steve Ashton we headed back to Stodmarsh where we witnessed the final 15 minutes of a Foxes life as it struggled, unsucsesfully, to climb out of a hole in the ice it had fallen through.
|Last efforts of a dying Fox|
Today, Sunday, meeting McChidders in the 6 inch deep snow in Stodmarsh carpark at 6.40 this morning after driving through virgin fresh snow in the surrounding villages with nothing but animal tracksbreaking the smooth blanket of white.From Stod car park we made our way to the LakeTower Hide to watch Harrier, and anything else, out of roost hearing a Tawny Owl as we left while a Woodcock flew over us near the Alder Wood. The lake was almost completley frozen over and yesterdays drowned Fox was just visible below a thin covering of ice. Several Water Rails and Cetti’s Warblers were making their presence known and at least 2000 Feildfares passed over head while 10 Marsh Harriers left roost along with 1 ringtail Hen Harrier. There were 86 shoveler, 85 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck, several Mallard and 3 Great Black-backed Gulls in and around the small bit of open water, 22 Canada Geese flew south over the lake and a single Ruff landed on the ice with 112 Lapwing. We decided to leave Stodmarsh and return to Westbere where the bulk of the activity had been yesterday passing high numbers of Blackbirds along the roadside enroute. At Westbere there were 3 Water Rails, 22 Pintail, 1 darke Mandarin, 3 redhead Smew and 3 Little Grebes. Among the concentration of Duck (Brendan made the counts!) there Tufted Duck, Pochard, the aythya hybrid (tuftedxpochard) Gadwall, 66 Wigeon and 3 Goldeneye including 2 drakes. Also on the lake were 7 Great-crested Grebes, 10 Greylag Geese and 14 Canada Geese. A Woodcock flew over the lake towards Fordwich and a Marsh Harrier passed over and there were a lot less Gulls today with no sign of yesterdays 1st winter Caspian. A phone call from Brendan, who was on the island on the other side of the lake, informed us of a Black-necked Grebe not far from us and with a detour onto a fishing swim managed to connect with this delightful little Grebe. We carried on past the water meadows where we encountered 4 Curlew and when we reached the tidal lake at the Gaps there were 3 Dunlin, 1 Shelduck, 40 flyover Skylarks, 2 Kingfishers and as we were heading back to the cars a redhead Goosander flew over as we passed between Westbere and Fordwich.
|Distant Black-necked Grebe|