If the weather keeps on like this, we're going to run out of superlatives! The lakes are now 90% frozen over, with only small patches of water being kept open by the feeding activities of the coots, swans and other waterfowl.
A co-ordinated count of the bitterns, this afternoon, confirmed at least 8 birds to be present. The best locations were Drayton Lagoon (4) and Oxholme Lake (3) - one bird spending most of the day sitting up in the willow bushes on the Drayton Lagoon island for all to see. One bird was seen feeding along the edge of Ferry Mere.
The starlings, although reduced in numbers to around 2,000 still put on a good show, as did the 2 sparrowhawks that made a kill apiece. The chosen roost site was amongst the reeds at the Ferry Pond, but not before they flew over Holywell Lake several times first. Whilst watching the starlings flying over Holywell Lake, a woodcock flew across and landed amongst the trees on the eastern side.
Other sightings today included the drake smew still on Swavesey Lake, with 5 black-tailed godwits there; 4 goosanders flying along the river Great Ouse; 2 little egrets over Drayton Lagoon; water rail; and barn owl.
With temperatures back into positive figures, just, and the ice receeding, it's actually getting a little bit more tricky to see birds like bitterns and water rails. However, careful watching of the lake shores and islands today produced 3 bitterns at Drayton Lagoon, Oxholme Lake and flying into Holywell Lake. Water rails can still be heard, squealing like little pigs, around many of the lakes, even if seeing them has become harder.
We still have 3 smew, including 1 drake, and a goosander present. As the ice melts and the lakes open up, we should start to see more of these species.
The black-tailed godwits, 3, are still favouring the northern shore of Swavesey Lake and 2 golden plovers flew over, this afternoon.
The starling roost, as predicted, is coming to an end. Around 300 birds came in this afternoon, which still attracted the attentions of 2 sparrowhawks.
A little treat came as I headed off the site at around 4:20pm - a short-eared owl was sitting on a fence post next ot the Entrance Track, but unfortunately flew off before I could stop & get my bins on it.
I've added a very nice photograph of a frosty Ferry Lagoon to the Gallery. The photo was sent to us by Dave Messenger and was taken on 7th December 2010.