31st January 2010 - Sunny, cold frosty start, light westerly wind.
Despite a slight change in the wind, birds were much the same as yesterday. The ten Redpoll flock had increased to 14 and showed well again, only two Tree Sparrows showed at the Oak Hide feeder to which either a Marsh or Willow Tit also paid a brief visit.
30th January 2010 - Sunny, cold frosty start, light northerly wind.
Today’s waterfowl and wader count included 35 Cormorant, five Heron, seven Mute Swans, four Shelduck, 17 Shoveler, 325 Wigeon, 36 Teal, 28 Mallard, seven Gadwall, 46 Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 41 Coot, seven Moorhen, 89 Lapwing, 25 Snipe and 170 Greylag. 212 Black-headed Gulls was a reasonable one off total though, as usual, there was a steady trickle in and out. A Peregrine put in a fleeting visit to the floods in pursuit of prey.
An accommodating flock of ten Lesser Redpolls fed in the Alders on the concrete road, with a single Siskin. 13 Fieldfare were on the tip fields with a single Redwing and Skylark. Four Tree Sparrows was the top count at the Oak Hide feeder and six Bullfinch were spread along the Old Road.
29th January 2009 - Slowly clearing after persistent overnight rain, sunny intervals with snow showers towards the end of the day on a cold northerly wind.
A female Brambling was a slightly surprising visitor to the Oak Hide feeder, where at least two Tree Sparrows were chattering away in the Blackthorn scrub. Over 30 Goldfinches, three Redpolls and a Siskin were in a widely wandering flock this morning. On the pools, there were two male and one female Shelduck and 37 Pochard.
28th January 2010 - Grey, occasional drizzle, cold but light north-westerly wind.
I am grateful to Marc Catley for kindly texting me to say there was a Little Egret on Car Park Pool at lunchtime, but I have no other news at the moment
27th January 2010 - Initially overcast and cold, with a north-easterly wind.
This morning's total of Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeder was six, and a mobile flock of at least 30 Goldfinches, ten Siskins and a Redpoll fed in the Alders both behind Oak Hide, later on the central streamline and also along the top stream.
At least 12 Herring Gulls trickled through in ones and twos going north-west this morning.
26th January 2010 - Grey and damp, with a light north-easterly.
News helpfully phoned in this morning by John Taverner, was of two male Pintails and a male Goldeneye on Car Park Pool but, unfortunately, the Pintail were flushed along with a number of the other wildfowl by a male Peregrine which came over at 10.30 a.m. The Wigeon flock reached a new record of 370 birds.
25th January 2010 - Cold and grey.
The only records of note were three Shelduck, and a Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder.
24th January 2010 - Fine morning, showery afternoon, coll light northerly wind.
Yesterday’s Peregrine panicked the assembled gulls, Lapwings and ducks on a number of occasions in the morning and was seen to take a Teal (the finder unfortunately not putting it in the log!). The Raven pair flew over again and a female Brambling joined a handful of Chaffinches, and 25 mixed buntings in the crop field. Only five Tree Sparrows were seen at the Oak Hide feeder.
300 Black-headed Gulls on the Reserve was a good early year count.
A Skylark was in song on the tip in the sunny weather this morning, and a House Sparrow sang by the cottages. Finally, a Jack Snipe showed in the marsh at dusk.
23rd January 2010 - Dry but grey
A good selection of birds and some good counts today. The pick of the quality was the best Tree Sparrow count of the winter, 12, all at the Oak Hide feeder where a Willow Tit also put in a brief visit. Pairs of Goosander and Ravens flew over in the afternoon, a Peregrine spectacularly took a Moorhen on the floods arising from Friday’s heavy rain and a Water Rail fed out in the open in the horse paddock behind Oak Hide.
Noteworthy counts included at least 350 Wigeon, mostly on the extensive floods to the north of the Reserve. This is a record count.
60 Siskins were spread half and half between the central stream and the concrete road, with the latter group feeding in Alders with 30 Goldfinches and four or five Lesser Redpoll. Yellowhammers totalled at least 30 and Pochard 34.
22nd January 2010 -
Mostly wet, but mild with temperatures up to 9 degrees centigrade.
A sudden influx of Snipe was the main feature of the day, with 70 on Car Park Pool and another 30 at least on Railway Pool. There was also an appreciable increase of birds in the crop field, with an absolute minimum of 20 each of Yellowhammer and Reed Buntings, together with a few Chaffinches and Goldfinches. More of the pools have become ice free.
21st January 2010 - Mostly sunny after fog cleared about 11 a.m. Light southerly wind, clouding over by late afternoon.
Despite the milder weather, there is still quite a lot of ice on both Railway and Car Park Pools, and the Reedbed Pool and the small pond by the car park remain completely iced over. Nevertheless, reasonable wildfowl numbers included 74 Teal, 21 Pochard, 12 Tufted and over 100 Wigeon, the latter flying in from the flood meadows.
Gulls included 140 Black-headed, three Commons, three Herrings and a couple of Lesser Black-backs.
The crop field was disappointing in terms of numbers, and with the milder weather most of the Yellowhammers have dispersed, leaving no more than six, about 12 Reed Buntings and three Linnets. A pair of Bullfinches, two Fieldfares and a Tree Creeper were the only additional birds seen in the Old Road hedges.
Seven very vocal Tree Sparrows showed nicely at the Oak Hide feeder along with Nuthatch and Great-spotted Woodpecker.
20th January 2010 - Wet, south-easterly wind.
19th January 2009 - Grey and overcast, light south-easterly wind.
A Willow Tit was seen and heard by the south-west pond and, in the crop field, there were 17 Reed Buntings, 12 Yellowhammers and 15 Linnets.
Some late news involves a sighting of a Dark-bellied Brent Goose seen by Ian Boyle and Mark Cadley. It flew around Railway Pool, five or six times, before in the end deciding better of landing and flew off. This excellent record is the third for the Reserve after singles between the 26th December 2002 and the 7th January 2003, and one that flew over on the 27th January 2007.
In addition, nine Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeder is the best count of the year so far.
18th January 2009 - Fine with a light south-westerly wind
The most interesting birds were the first Green Sandpipers of the year, which were on the floods towards Patrick Bridge. A Tree Sparrow was at the Oak Hide feeder and 50 Teal on the pool.
17th January 2010 - Sunny after an overnight frost.
The thaw and rainfall has caused the river to flood Railway Pool and the islands have mostly disappeared. Despite this, the majority of the ice remained. The floods north of the Reserve were sufficiently extensive to attract single Great Crested and Little Grebes. 62 Teal on Railway Pool was an impressively quick jump from erratic single figures before the thaw, and 23 yesterday.
A male Shelduck was the first of the year. Do they return to the coast during the cold weather?
Two Ravens flew over mid-morning, the presumed male giving a fantastic “rollover display” in the sky above Railway Pool. A significant count of three Great Black-backed Gulls flew over, also in the morning, with two (presumably part of the three) returning to roost in the afternoon. 40 Fieldfares fed on the periphery of the floods. Linnets totalled 40, but Buntings seemed thin on the ground.
The fine weather also brought the birders out of hibernation with 17 cars on the car park in the morning alone.
16th January 2010 - Mostly wet.
Car Park Pool remains iced over but Railway Pool is slowly thawing. The rain has caused flooding of the meadows north of the Reserve and wildfowl have quickly returned with 300 Greylag and 280 Wigeon there, and 23 Teal and 18 Pochard being of note on the Reserve.
Two Tree Sparrows visited the Oak Hide feeder, a pair of Skylark quickly returned to the top field and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming between Oak Hide and the south-west pond, the first record this year.
15th January 2010 - Rain on and off, cold southerly wind.
The slow thaw should be hastened by this rain. No records.
14th January 2010 - Dry and grey.
A slight thaw is underway, but few birds of note.
13th January 2010 - Snow.
On a grey and snowy morning, there was initially no activity at all at dawn, but birds eventually emerged from their roosts and at least 40 Yellowhammers were in the crop field, whilst a flock of 70 Jackdaws was spread between the two feeding stations.
Thirteen Moorhens were under the Oak Hide feeder and on approach, most of them climbed into the bushes. In the open water on Railway Pool, there were 25 Mallard 12, Shoveler and two Pochard, plus a pair of Mute Swans.
The stream below Oak Hide was open, but there were no birds present.
12th January 2010 - Mostly grey and overcast, cold, but light south-easterly wind.
A very slow thaw is in progress with a reasonable amount of open water now visible in front of Oak Hide in the Marsh, and a small pool of open water on Railway Pool itself. There was little in the Marsh this morning, and in the open water the only birds were a pair of Mute Swans, 18 Coots and 101 Black-headed Gulls. There were also 15 Lapwing on the ice.
Of the birds visiting the Oak Hide feeder, a Marsh Tit paid a brief visit.
In the crop field, a pair of Bramblings and a Skylark were amongst 25 Yellowhammers and a handful of Reed Buntings and Chaffinches. Overhead, three Herring Gulls and eight Lesser Black-backs went over.
11th January 2010 - Overcast with a light, but cold-easterly wind
10th January 2010 - Cold north easterly, grey, snow showers but only -2°C!
The more unusual birds today were a Willow Tit by the south-west pond, a male Brambling in the crop field with about 40 Buntings and 30 Chaffinches, a Great Black-backed Gull over, a Water Rail in the marsh and six Bullfinches scattered across the Reserve.
9th January 2010 - Cold, sunny, north-easterly
Small numbers of waterfowl congregated around the small patch of open water. These included three Mutes, six Greylags, 92 Canadas, three Cormorant, 19 Wigeon, two Mallard, ten Shoveler, 24 Coot and 13 Moorhen whilst waders included one Snipe, 53 Lapwing (see Portland bird observatory website for cold weather movements of this and other species) and a single Woodcock which flew over the Old Road at the start of the afternoon work party.
The birds in the field were noticeably down in number but included 40 Yellowhammers, 30 Chaffinches and three Linnet with a single Tree Sparrowat the Oak Hide feeder. Four Bullfinches were restricted to the Old Road.
8th January 2010 - Cold north-easterly. Sunny -6°C
7th January 2010 - Sunny, cold north-easterly.
With the temperature gauge registering -10 in the car park, it was no wonder that the stream in front of Oak Hide was frozen over, and the small patch of open water on Railway Pool has shrunk to almost nothing.
There were about 30 Shoveler, 60 Black-headed and one Common Gull on or around the water and about 100 Lapwing roosting on the ice. A single Mute Swan and Black Swan remained, and are hopefully not frozen in.
In the crop field, a Skylark joined at least 40 Yellowhammers, 40 Linnets and 20 each of Reed Bunting and Chaffinch. Five Fieldfares flew over to the west.
6th January 2010 - Snow showers, cold north-easterly wind. Sunny in the afternoon.
Much to my surprise, the stream in front of Oak Hide was less frozen than on Monday and the patch of open water on Railway Pool was also bigger. On a very quick look this morning, there were four Snipe and two Moorhens in the former, and amongst the wildfowl and Coot, there were 36 Shoveler in the open water and 250 Lapwing roosting on the ice. There were at least 40 Yellowhammers in the crop field but time prevented a more detailed look.
This afternoon, I looked at the track formation that is now underway in Siden Hill Wood and despite the weather, good progress has been made. The disturbed ground is proving particularly attractive to Robins, with seven around the digger and at least another five further back up the track. A remarkably tame Buzzard had, earlier in the day, been trying to stalk the Robins by hiding behind the piles of newly stacked brash and then, with half open wings, bounding out and trying to grab one in its tallons. After a while, it realised the fruitlessness of this effort and decided to concentrate on eating worms!
Chris Laight flushed two Woodcock on his way through the wood this morning, and three on Christmas day.
Later in the day, the Lapwing flock increased to 350 and a Willow Tit was at the Oak Hide feeder.
5th January 2010 - Snow!
4 January 2010 - Another heavy frost, -6°. Sunny, still and cold.
No sign of the Bittern and the channel in the marsh is nearly iced over. A Water Rail, three Snipe and four Moorhen showed well there. In the small patch of ice free water on Railway Pool, 12 Shoveler, 5 Mute and 87 Canadas were present. 100 Lapwing flew over.
In the crop field, 40 Linnets, 40 Yellowhammers and a few Reed Buntings, Chaffinches and Greenfinches were feeding on a mixture of the remains of the sown crop and the wheat from the spinner.
3 January 2010 - Another heavy frost. Sunny, still and cold.
A Bittern was the star bird of the day. Found by Brian Harris in the marsh just after 10am, it showed really well until 10.45am before wandering into the reedmace to the right of the channel where it became more elusive. At 4.55pm it was seen to fly, low, over towards the railway.
The cold weather has obviously caused a movement of Bittern as the Birdguides site alone noted 53 birds today across the country.
A male Brambling was in the crop field where a ringing session yielded a total of 49 birds, caught as follows:-
Crop field: Two Blue Tits, two Great Tits, four Reed Buntings, eight Chaffinches, one Goldfinch, one Greenfinch, one Robin and three Dunnocks.
Reedbed: Four Blue Tits, four Wrens and 19 Reed Buntings.
Of the 49 ringed, eight were re-trapped - three Reed Buntings, three Blue Tits, one Great Tit and a Dunnock.
2 January 2010 - Cold, frosty, occasional wintry showers
A female Brambling showed again in the crop field and a Tree Sparrow visited the Car Park feeder. 61 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over, a Nuthatch fed again on the Old Road and five Meadow Pipits were present on the tip field.
New Year’s Day - Sunny, cold, light north easterly
Another heavy frost with temperatures down to -5°C. Car Park Pool remains frozen and the small patch of open water on Railway Pool has shrunk to very little. 18 Wigeon and 28 Shoveler and, later, over 20 Teal joined eight Mutes and over 40 Coot whilst two Water Rails showed well in the marsh.
13 Goldfinches and two Siskin fed on the alders on the concrete road, whilst at least 200 finches and buntings fed in the crop field in the morning; 80+ Linnets, 100 Yellowhammers and a few Greenfinches, Chaffinches and a female Brambling.
Later, up to 170 Wigeon were found to be feeding on the Blythe banks north of the Reserve, where a Grey Wagtail was also seen.