21 December 2008

Leam Valley in December

Leam Valley was quiet this morning, but it was warm, bright and I found enough to lighten the winter blues a little.

At the riverside alders I heard, then saw, three Siskin darting around among the Blue Tit flocks. The scrape appeared at first to have only two herons on it - then, after ten minutes of careful scanning I found a male Teal tucked into the far reedbeds (these are growing quite nicely now).

A little further along on the same side I found a Grey Wagtail, my attention drawn to this tiny bird by a big, showy Jay.

And moving down to the weir at Offchurch Bury I was pleased to find two winter Cormorants and another Grey Wagtail.

Along with these highlights were scattered Redwing, Fieldfare, plenty of Robins, Blackbirds and Dunnocks, tit flocks and gulls overhead. And as I left I was sung on my way by a huge flock of Goldfinch in the car park trees. Lovely.

Bird of the day: Common Teal (Anas crecca), a lovely little duck - given that the male bird has such vivid colouring it did a surprisingly good job of lurking and then disappearing completely today.

14 December 2008

Brandon is flooded

I took a quick trip round Brandon in December - not because I was in a hurry but because most of the site was very, very flooded.

Unable to get anywhere near the East Marsh track and hides (generally everyone's favourites, and the most productive), I went first to the new hide (can't remember it's name) and then to the Wright Hide.

The best bird of the short morning was a beautiful male Goldeneye right in front of Wright Hide, much to the joy of a photographer with whom I was sharing the hide. I was also happy to bump into a confiding robin - so confiding in fact that I was able to take repeated flash photographs of him with my little Canon G9.

Bird of the day: Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), a striking addition to our winter wildfowl.