19 March 2011

Springing back to Leam Valley

OK, so I knew I'd been neglecting my patch a bit - but according to my records, it's been nearly 12 months since I was last birding in Leam Valley :-o

Now that's poor.

And ill-advised too, since - as I noted in my last post from the reserve - the place is starting to mature nicely. There's a huge amount of woodland management going on, and the three reed beds on the scrape in particular have finally taken hold in a decisive way, which should bode well for reed / sedge warblers this summer, as well as snipe, teal and perhaps water rail?

Well, today there were none of these on view, but there was a male shoveller on the scrape, my first for this reserve. A pair of reed buntings flitted around, the second pair I found on the day. Also on the scrape were six tufted ducks, in pairs.

Elsewhere, there was a single redpoll in the middle of a loose flock of tit species (there were four here at the same time last year). A few goldcrest were in the conifers near the hide, along with a single coal tit. A single chiffchaff sang near the car park, and a song thrush was singing near the golf course.

I strolled down to Offchurch Bury weir hoping to find singing yellowhammers, but there were none. What I did find were about a dozen chub (to 15 inches or so, decent fish), just holding their position by the footbridge. I was hoping to find the grey wagtails as well, and there they were, considerably bolder than any I have encountered before - hence the photos, which were taken on a 6x zoom pocket camera.

The kestrel was pictured on the same camera, having been similarly obliging.

Bird of the day: Lesser redpoll (Carduelis cabaret), if only because it was such a good find, high on its own in an alder tree.

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