One of the more unusual species of bird I have found during my time birding at Leam Valley nature reserve is the Goosander - a pair of which set up temporary residence on the river and pool there between February and March 2005.
Well, today they were back. I say 'they' like they were the same pair, but who knows - perhaps they were? These fine creatures were the highlight of my morning at Leam Valley - too far away and into the sun to photograph properly, but lovely to watch on this sometimes sonambulent patch of water.
In fact there was a positive party going on down there this morning, with two Mute Swans, a few Mallards and Canada Geese, four Coots, four Moorhen, a Grey Heron and various species flitting around the edges - notably Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaffs and a Coal Tit.
Around the whole reserve, the Chiffchaffs were the only spring migrants I could find, but most of the resident species were in full song, most notably three Song Thrushes and a goodly number of Wrens. Add to this a smattering of other species including a Green Woodpecker, a pair of Jays, a few Yellowhammers and three species of finch (gold, green and 'chaf'), and you have a pleasant morning's birding with 31 species to enjoy in all. Although I couldn't get the best photos of the Goosander (a masterful understatement) I did stop for a few snaps on way round. Above are photographs of the new wetlands sign (very nice indeed), a view across the pools to Radford Semele, the Goosanders, a singing Robin, and, left, the playing fields Rookery - this year numbering 14 nests.