1 December 2014

Napton in early winter plumage

Napton was mercifully drier than when I was last there; grey and cold, with the trees at last shedding their leaves, but a pleasant enough day for a good couple of hours of early winter birding.

The stunning male pochard (credit: Sailesh Panchal)
The water was still dominated by the usual coots (c80), tufted ducks (14) and gulls (c100 black-headed and 18 common). 

But alongside the winter-only common gulls there were one or two other less familiar faces among the locals - three shovelers and my first pochard of the season, a male bird doing what pochards like doing best - nothing.

The hedges and trees around the boundary also proved to be slightly more full of life than the pochard, with a total haul of 34 species including yellowhammer, redwing, fieldfare, meadow pipit, bullfinch, treecreeper and great spotted woodpecker.

Flyovers / fly bys included six lapwing, a snipe, three skylarks and three more shovelers.

Bird of the day: Pochard (Aythya ferina), a beautifully plumages diving duck (male only, of course), essentially a winter visitor to these parts - but spectacularly somnambulant while here. Sleeping is very much a pochard's thing.

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