Arriving at Westbere lake at 6.30 this morning i made my way to the island to search through the Gulls in hope of relocating the Iceland Gull that had been seen the previous afternoon. Almost all the lake was frozen over except a small patch to the south west of the island that had 5 or 600 gulls on plus Coots and Ducks of which there were 112 Tufted Duck, 60 Pochards, the aythya hybrid Pochard x Tufted, a Little Grebe and 2 Goldeneye one being a fine drake. Joined by Marc Heath and Brendan Ryan we finished on the island and made our way to the river where we wandered to Fordwich before retracing our steps and carrying on to the Gaps at Hersden. No matter how hard we searched there was no sign of the Red-necked Grebe seen on Thursday but, at least 8 Little Grebes were seen and along with several Teal and Tufted Duck had 5 or 6 views of probably 2 Kingfishers as well as 3 redhead Smew. There were 2 Curlew on the Westbere Water meadows as well as 1 Stonechat and 2 Grey Herons. A couple of Crossbills flew over calling nearer to Fordwich and Great Tits were seen in good numbers as well as two more drake Goldeneye at Fordwich.
At Hersden there were 2 Shelduck, 7 Goosanders including 3 drakes, 1 Bittern looking a little forlorn on the edge of the ice plus 12 Pintail. Water Rails were seen and heard and after Marc had left Brendan and I along with Sue Morton made our way out to a fishing swim to scan through the now much larger gathering of Gulls. The three of us spent a good 45 minutes going through a minimum of 4500 Herring Gulls that included 2 adult Lesser Black-backs but could not relocate yesterdays Iceland Gull. The open water was getting larger and there were a lot more duck present including Pochard, Tufted (hybrid), Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallard while 3 drake Goosanders flew over towards Fordwich.
|Tufted Ducks and a Pochard|
On the way how I stopped in at Stodmarsh hoping to catch up with the five Tundra Bean Geese that were still present yesterday seen by Sue. There was a large flock of Chaffinches along the roadside between Collard’s and Stodmarsh Court Farm but, alas, no Brambling with them and I finally got to see the Little Owl that suns itself on the fallen tree at Stodmarsh Court Farm.
Parking on the ice rink that is Stodmarsh NNR car park I made my way along the Lampen Wall to look at the near fully frozen lake where needless to say there was no sign of any Bean Geese but there were 14 Canada Geese and 6 Greylags amongst the gathered Mallard, Teal and Shoveler.