We would like to wish all a members a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
31st December 2012 - Mostly wet, but mild, south-westerly wind
The Bittern has showed again towards the very end of the day on the crop field side of the Reedbed. The Jack Snipe was again in the Marsh and both Brambling and Tree Sparrow visited the Oak Hide feeder.
30th December 2012 - Mostly sunny, brisk south-westerly wind, some showers.
Today’s star bird was a Bittern which unfortunately showed only briefly as it flew from the stream side of the Reedbed to the crop field side and dropped into the reeds roughly in line with the lifebuoy.
A good supporting cast included the Little Egret on Car Park Pool, two Green Sandpipers opposite Patrick Farm Barns, Brambling and Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder and Jack Snipe in the Marsh.
East of the A452 there were at least 70 Skylarks in the rape crop there. Meanwhile, on the pools, Pochard numbers had increased to 20.
29th December 2012 - Wet all day.
Today’s better birds were the regularly present Little Egret (on Car Park Pool), the Jack Snipe in the Marsh, a Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder along with a female Brambling and another (unsexed) in the crop field with the other Finches and Buntings. There were also two Green Sandpipers opposite the barns at Patrick Farm.
Other counts today included 38 Cormorants (including a colour ringed bird Yellow ZH6 previously ringed at Rutland Water), five Herons, three Mute Swans, a Black Swan, 54 Greylags, one Farmyard Goose, 23 Canadas, 222 Wigeon, 37 Gadwall, 153 Teal, 121 Mallard, ten Shoveler, 15 Pochard, 17 Tufted, 28 Coot, four Moorhen, 207 Lapwing, 46 Snipe, eight Black-headed Gulls, two Common Gulls and, in the crop field, at least 20 Linnets and three Yellowhammers.
28th December 2012 - Mild, drizzly, southerly wind
In the flood pool on the opposite side of the road from Patrick Farm Barns, a highly impressive seven Green Sandpipers were feeding on the margins. This would be a good count at any time of year, yet alone now. There are also 100 mixed Fieldfares and Redwings in the fields around the farm, although they were quite mobile.
To the east of the A452 over 1000 Wood Pigeons were again on the unharvested corn, with over 100 Corvids and in the crop, 150 to 200 Lapwings.
In the crop field, approximately 100 mixed Finches and Buntings included about 15 Yellowhammers, 30 Reed Buntings and 25 Linnets with the rest mostly Chaffinches.
27th December 2012 - Periodic showers, sunny intervals, northerly wind.
Other than the Little Egret and the Pink-footed Goose, there were no particular birds of note. A Fox showed well behind Oak Hide again.
26th December 2012 - Bright start, clouding over, periodic rain p.m., very mild.
Unharvested corn to the east of the A452 has been pulling in reasonable numbers of birds all month and this morning, just east of the underpass, there was a flock of at least 60 to 70 Skylarks. Whilst, slightly further east, 200 mixed Corvids were proportioned roughly a third to Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws each. A minimum of 500 Wood Pigeons were present and a Kestrel hunted the fields. Overhead, seven Herring Gulls and seven Lesser Black-backs moved west.
Opposite Patrick Farm there were three Green Sandpipers today on the floods opposite the entrance to the barns. The Little Egret again frequented Car Park Pool and in the alders by the south-west pond there is an impressive flock of 80 Siskins with a few Lesser Redpolls.
In the crop field, Chaffinches were back up to 40 with at least ten Yellowhammers. Lastly the feral Pink-footed Goose was again with the Greylags.
25th December 2012 - Heavy showers, remaining mild, south-westerly wind.
The birds in the crop field had changed in configuration again with no sign of the Chaffinch flock from the previous day but Linnets had increased to 40 and there were still at least six Yellowhammers.
On the pools, aside from the Little Egret, a Great Crested Grebe was a new addition and the Lapwing flock had increased to 260.
A flock of 30 Siskins and three Lesser Redpolls roved around the place, Common Gulls totalled 11 and on the flood waters north of Patrick Farm itself, two Green Sandpipers were feeding there. There was also a Grey Wagtail at Patrick Bridge.
24th December 2012 - Heavy showers.
The Little Egret was again present on Car Park Pool and a Tree Sparrow by Oak Hide on the feeder there was later heard calling away in the blackthorn by the south-west pond. Possibly there is more than one.
A noticeable increase in birds in the crop field saw totals jump to between 150 and 200 birds. Most were Chaffinches with approximately 150 of those but there were also 30 Reed Buntings and ten Yellowhammers.
23rd December 2012 - Mostly sunny, south-westerly wind.
The Little Egret was again present and much more impressive numbers of Gulls today included 21 Common Gulls on the pools and lots of larger Gulls going over, east. Included within these were 12 Herring Gulls, 50 Lesser Black-backs and two Greater Black-backed Gulls. The Peregrine was again perched in the dead tree on the flood plains, just north of Car Park Pool and, in the crop field, there were at least ten Yellowhammers. The Tree Sparrow was again at the Oak Hide feeder and, later in the morning, both adult Peregrines were in the aforementioned dead tree.
In the afternoon a Raven went over and, of particular note, in a mixed flock of Finches drinking on the causeway, a Mealy Redpoll joined three Lessers, a Siskin and six Goldfinches. The Jack Snipe showed briefly in the Marsh.
22nd December 2012 - Wet all day
The Little Egret was again present this morning, rowing between the pools and the river and at about 9.30 a Peregrine put up most of the Lapwings. 39 Snipe was a reasonably good count and the Tree Sparrow was again at the Oak Hide feeder.
The crop field is definitely worth checking out at the moment as a variable number of birds are there at any one time. This morning there were at least 20 Chaffinches, ten Greenfinches, 20 Linnets, 10 Reed Buntings and two Yellowhammers whilst, along the Old Road, 11 Siskins and 11 Lesser Redpolls were feeding in the alders there. There was also a pair of Mistle Thrushes. In the adjacent field, to the east of the Aeromodellers strip, at least 50 Redwings and 20 Fieldfares were feeding in the crop.
The high water levels attracted in good numbers of wildfowl with 239 Wigeon and 186 Teal the most noteworthy of these. Other counts included 27 Cormorants, four Herons, four Mute Swans, 160 Greylags, 12 Farmyard Geese, 37 Gadwall, 85 Mallard, 11 Shoveler, 11 Pochard, 21 Tufted Ducks, 22 Coots, four Moorhens, only 24 Lapwing and ten Black-headed Gulls.
21st December 2012 - Sunny intervals, occasional light showers, westerly wind.
As might have been expected with all the rain, the Blythe Valley was flooded again and the River was flowing into Railway Pool such that most of the islands had disappeared.
The best bird was a Little Egret which spent a small amount of time on the margins of Car Park Pool first thing, but had disappeared a little later and had probably gone onto the River. There were a few Wigeon and Gulls on the floods and in the Old Road game crop, 60 to 70 Redwings and a handful of Fieldfares. In the crop field by the car park there were at least 20 Reed Buntings, 15 Chaffinches, five Yellowhammers and a Greenfinch, whilst on the central streamline a flock of at least 60 Siskins with at least three to four Redpolls were feeding in the Alders.
On Railway Pool, aside from the usual Ducks there were 19 Cormorants and 23 Canadas.
20th December 2012 - Wet all day.
19th December 2012 - Overcast morning, rain from lunchtime.
18th December 2012 - Occasional sunny intervals, some cloud, south-westerly wind.
The Tree Sparrow was again at the Oak Hide feeder and a Jack Snipe was seen in the Marsh. At least one Peregrine was seen on and off during the day and, in the crop field, there were a number of Finches and Buntings with at least 15 Yellowhammers swelling the total.
17th December 2012 - Sunny intervals, westerly wind.
The pair of Peregrines were again present this morning, in part using Siden Hill Wood. Two Common Gulls were amongst the Black-headed Gulls and there were at least 100 Teal on site. 20 Siskins and a Redpoll were seen flying over and there were three Bullfinches on the Old Road; further north along the Old Road, in the field by the Aeromodellers, there were approximately 25 each of Fieldfare and Redwing and a Mistle Thrush. There was also a Green Woodpecker seen.
16th December 2012 - Mild and sunny.
At least one Goosander was present in the morning and a male and two females flew over Car Park Pool towards Bradnocks Marsh, in the afternoon. There was at least one Brambling on site and the Tree Sparrow again visited the Oak Hide feeders. Two Peregrines were perched in trees on the flood plain and there was a Grey Wagtail by the pumping station.
There were a few Siskins and at least 15 Lesser Redpolls along the streamline and the Jack Snipe again showed in the Marsh.
15th December 2012 - Mostly sunny, occasional showers, south-westerly wind.
The birds of the weekend were undoubtedly a flock of nine Waxwing which were perched in the oak by the car park from 10.35 am, until 10.45 am before flying north up the Old Road. They were no doubt eyeing up the few remaining Guelder Rose berries by the gates into the tip field.
Other good birds during the day included a Green Sandpiper in the muddy field opposite the entrance to Patrick Farm Barns, a Grey Wagtail on the Old Road, Jack Snipes in the Marsh and by the Dragonfly Pond, a Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder and a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull on the pools. A Little Egret put in a brief appearance at 10.30 and a female Goosander roosted on Car Park Pool in the late afternoon.
Other counts for the day were as follows: 27 Cormorants, three Herons, four Mute Swans, 95 Greylags, three Farmyard Geese, 225 Wigeon, 38 Gadwall, 146 Teal, 37 Mallard, 16 Shoveler, eight Pochard, eight Tufted, four Moorhen, 31 Coot, 51 Lapwing, at least 40 Snipe, 85 Black-headed Gulls, four Common Gulls, six Lesser Black-backed Gulls, three Linnets and four Yellowhammers spread across the Reserve, six Lesser Redpolls (two at Oak Hide and four on the Old Road), and ten each of Redwing and Fieldfare feeding on the stubble by the Aeromodellers.
14th December 2012 - Wet.
13th December 2012 - Overcast, cold northerly wind, changing to south-easterly in the evening.
Five Brambling in the crop field today was a good count and there was a Peregrine over Siden Hill Wood. At least two Water Rails showed in the Marsh and by the causeway respectively, with a Jack Snipe also in the Marsh. The feral Pink-footed Goose was again on site.
12th December 2012 - Sharp frost, initially foggy, clearing slowly later.
Needless to say, most of the water was frozen with a small pool of open water to the right of Car Park Hide and a bigger one centred around the gravel bar between Oak and River Hide. On the former there was just a pair of Mute Swans and a few desolate looking Coots but, on the other pool, there was a good congregation of wildfowl with between 90 and 100 Teal roosting on the ice adjacent to the open water. Approximately 20 each of Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallard were also there along with a few Coots, Moorhens and Black-headed Gulls.
Birds were flying in to the crop field from dawn and the best count of Yellowhammers so far, 40, were counted in the Old Road hedge. There were also Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Reed Buntings but due to the fog, counts were difficult.
A Peregrine went over, low to the east at 9 a.m. By the south west pond a flock of about 20 Siskins with two Lesser Redpolls were feeding in the Alders.
The stream flowing into Railway Pool in front of Oak Hide remains open and at least four Snipe were feeding in the margins.
This afternoon, as the weather became more cloudy, both Tree Sparrow and male Brambling were at the Oak Hide feeders along with a Fox chasing squirrels! Apparently the Fox "scored" though much of the action was out of view!
11th December 2012 - Cold, frosty and foggy for much of the day.
Visibility was poor all day but was just good enough to see a Jack Snipe and a Water Rail in the Marsh and a Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder. There were also 100 Linnets and three Yellowhammers in the crop field. Much of the rest of the Reserve was either frozen of fog bound, making visibility extremely difficult.
10th December 2012 - Sunny, cold north-westerly wind.
Similar birds to yesterday with at least two male Bramblings and a Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder, with 30 Reed Buntings and ten Yellowhammers between there and the Old Road.
One of two Peregrines seen this morning, tussled with a Peregrine over Siden Hill Wood.
On the Old Road, there were at least 30 Fieldfares, two Mistle Thrushes and two Redwings on the ground just to the north of the Aeromodellers whilst, on the Old Road, there were four Bullfinches, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Goldcrest.
Also of note a Peacock Butterfly was noted on the ivy by the Dragonfly Pool.
9th December 2012 - Mostly sunny, occasional brief showers, increasingly blustery west, north-westerly wind, relatively mild.
Up to three male Bramblings and a Tree Sparrow showed well during the morning at the Oak Hide feeder and with females having been seen over the last few days in the crop field, there are obviously a few birds about.
30 to 40 each of Fieldfares and Redwings were flying about to the north of Patrick Farm and, over the flood plain during the morning, a pair of Peregrines were seen, with the male a little later thermaling up to the north of Patrick Farm. Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel completed the raptor tally.
A few Yellowhammers and Linnets were in the crop field in the morning but with no great counts but, in the field west of Siden Hill Wood, a flock of at least 60 Chaffinches was notable.
In the morning, a steady movement of large Gulls proceeded to the north of the east of the Reserve with the birds moving north and then west towards the airport. Although most were in silhouette, the majority appeared to be Lesser Black-backs, but at least five Herring Gulls were counted. Last, but not least, a Grey Wagtail was seen and heard by the pumping station.
8th December 2012 - Overcast start, turning sunny most of the day, light west, north-westerly wind.
The best birds today were three Bramblings in the crop field along with at least 100 Linnets and ten Yellowhammers, a Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder and a Jack Snipe by the Dragonfly Pond. The Common Snipe count was also quite impressive with at least 15 in the Marsh in the morning and 50 by Car Park Pool which were flushed by a Buzzard. Later in the afternoon, during the work party, over 50 Snipe were flushed from the Marsh but these were probably augmented by the birds from the car park area.
There were also more winter thrushes than of late, with at least 80 Fieldfares and 25 Redwings flying over during the morning, but only one to two of each continue to linger on the Old Road. There was a Treecreeper by the concrete road, a Bullfinch nearby, at least three Jay and singles of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll went over.
The normal Saturday counts were as follows: eight Mutes, the Black Swan, 289 Greylags, four Farmyard Geese, one Pink-footed Goose, 215 Wigeon, 56 Teal, 48 Gadwall, 31 Mallard, 17 Shoveler, two Pochard, four Tufteds, ten Moorhens, 54 Coot, 20 Cormorants, two Herons, 140 Black-headed Gulls, two Common Gulls, six Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 55 Lapwing.
A very commendable 11 attended the work party and many thanks to all those who achieved a wide variety of tasks, including the spraying of the islands on Railway Pool, the construction of bridges at either end of the ditch by the back gate copse (enabling a circuit now through the wood and back towards the main path), the coppicing of a number of willows around Car Park Pool and some path patching.
7th December 2012 - Mostly overcast, some sunny periods, cold north-westerly wind.
A variety of reasonably good birds today included a pair of Bramblings at the Oak Hide feeder, a male Goosander on Car Park Pool, an adult Peregrine perched in the dead tree just at the north end of Car Park Pool, 60 Linnets and five Yellowhammers in the crop field, eight Redwing on the Old Road and the feral Pink-footed Goose with the Greylags.
6th December 2012 - Cold, north-westerly wind, overcast
A male Stonechat found in the Marsh this morning was definitely the star bird of the day. Due to the preceding cold winters, this species has become increasingly scarce and over wintering birds are, regrettably, a rather distant dream at the moment. This male proved to be elusive for much of the morning and could not be found in the afternoon, but may still be around.
The Reserve was ice free yesterday but as a result of the sharp overnight frost, the majority of the water had frozen over with just small open patches on Car Park and Railway Pools. Nine Common Gulls were amongst 40 Black-headed Gulls on Railway Pool.
The crop field again held a male Brambling with at least 80 Linnets and few Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings. The rapidly diminishing berries meant that five Fieldfare and a single Redwing were all that could be counted.
About 3 p.m. a male Goosander flew over to the north, presumably yesterday’s bird.
5th December 2012 - Sunny, cold north-westerly wind. Early pre-dawn showers.
The pre-dawn showers meant that the Old Road and parts of the tracks between the hides were very icy.
The crop field was lively, no doubt as a result of the cold weather with at least 80 Linnets, 20-30 Reed Buntings, five to ten Yellowhammers, at least ten Chaffinches, eight Greenfinches and a male Brambling. Pairs of Bullfinches were present both behind Railway Hide and on the Old Road.
Birds of Prey included a male Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard and a Peregrine and a drake and five red-headed Goosander flew north over Car Park Pool.
4th December 2012 - Sunny, cold northerly wind.
The frost of the night before had caused partial freezing of the pools and the most noteworthy birds were a Water Rail, which showed very well in the Marsh for at least 15 minutes and two Redpoll and a Grey Wagtail by the concrete road.
3rd December 2012 - Cloudy, west, north-westerly wind.
There was a male Brambling in with a mixed flock of Finches and Buntings on the Old Road in the morning and three Ravens flew over Patrick Farm. A Peregrine was in Siden Hill Wood and the feral Pink-footed Goose was present again.
2nd December 2012 - Sunny but cold.
Another sharp frost increased the icing over of the pools with not a great deal of open water left and certainly no diving ducks at all.
The colder weather, nevertheless, produced some good records with at least 11 Bramblings, eight feeding in the top of the alders near River Hide and at least three in the crop field along with 40 Chaffinches, 20 Linnets, 20 Reed Buntings and 15 to 20 Yellowhammers.
Two Jack Snipe showed well in the Marsh and a Water Rail was disturbed actually walking along the causeway path and flew over the bank and onto the Reedbed Pool.
A Little Egret showed on the flood plain briefly, where a Peregrine was perched in the large willow by Siden Hill Wood. A Willow or Marsh Tit showed in the mixed Tit flock on the railway embankment, and with a wing panel was probably a Willow, now a scarce bird at the Reserve.
A Green Sandpiper flew over Railway Pool, the feral Greylag remains and birds of note included two Sparrowhawks, a Buzzard, ten Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Common Gulls, a Herring Gull, at least two Siskins, four Fieldfare, two Redwing, a Treecreeper on the central streamline and at least 20 Chaffinches in unharvested grain east of the A452.
1st December 2012 - Frosty start, light showers in the morning, sunny later.
Another sharp frost meant that much of each pool was iced over and the wildfowl were concentrated to the islands and the areas of open water. The showers of the early morning raised temperatures from -3 to +6. Colder weather certainly increased the activity around the crop field with 15 to 20 Reed Buntings and five to ten Yellowhammers at least, plus over 100 Linnets. On the concrete road, 30 plus Siskins, five Lesser Redpolls and a Goldfinch were feeding in the alders. On the flood plain, a Green Sandpiper was taking advantage of the remaining flood water puddles.
The wildfowl and other counts were: 20 Cormorants, two Herons, six Mute Swans, the feral Pink-footed Goose, 445 Greylags, 18 Farmyard Geese, eight Canadas, 233 Wigeon, 69 Gadwall, 186 Teal, 114 Mallard, 16 Shoveler, ten Tufted Ducks, 14 Moorhen, 59 Coot, 27 Lapwing, 30 Snipe, 126 Black-headed Gulls, three Common Gulls, a Herring Gull, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and five Rooks on the flood plain.