Barnacle Geese-Mersehead-Bill Young
Sunday, 20 February 2011
On reaching the shore the beach had disappeared under the rough sea with little chance of seeing waders. Flying out over the sea Cormorant and Great Black Backed Gull were buffeted by the wind. As the tide was so high returning along the beach was impossible. After a struggle of a walk along the landward side of the dunes and peeping over the top of the dunes revealed a Rock Pipit and Ringed Plover on the narrow shore. On arriving at the other end, the scrub and woods were scanned and mixed flocks of Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Twite, Linnet and Chaffinch were found. Treecreepers were found in both woods on either side of the main track. From the woods a female Hen Harrier was seen gliding by on a mission for food.
Those of the group who visited the Meida hide early were rewarded by fine views of an Otter as it passed by in the pool in front of the hide and then disappeared into the reeds. From this hide four Roe Deer and a Fox were also spotted.
On the ponds in front of both of the hides on the reserve good numbers of Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveller, Widgeon, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Shelduck and Tufted Duck were seen. Here there were sightings of the Hen Harrier again and Buzzard over the trees. A Little Grebe was diving, a Mute Swan dipping, Moorhen sculking and a Grey Heron standing like a statue, all looking for tasty morsels. On leaving the Bruaich Hide one of our group was lucky enough to see a Kingfisher flash by and disappear down the water ditch at the side of the path.
Back at the farm the tall trees held noisy rooks and in the fields around were Stock Dove, Wood and Ferrel Pidgeon, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starlings, Skylark, Herring, Common and Black Headed Gulls. From the visitor centre car park a single Whimbrel had been spotted amongst the Barnacle Geese. Back in the warmth of visitor centre the feeding station gave us good views of House and Tree Sparrows for comparison along with Greenfinch, Yellow Hammer, Brambling, and Reed Bunting.
Back on the bus for the big count up for the group with a total of 55 different bird species and 4 mammals.