Sunday, 21 February 2010

More of the White Stuff

Birding's been a bit restricted this weekend due to snow.

Saturday 20th February.

There was a heavy snow shower at home on Friday night. Even though it only lasted half an hour the snow stuck all night, and took a while to thaw in the morning. While waiting for the snow on the roads to clear a bit, I took a walk around a local wood, Huntley wood.

I managed to find a mixed tit flock, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Redwing, Fieldfare. But nothing more exciting than that.

But at least the snow had cleared, so over to Brookleys Lake. It was most pleasing to find two female Scaup together. One of them is definitely a new arrival anyway, I think it's the bird on the left here.

Admittedly it's an awful picture, but that left one has more of a pale cheek patch, seems to have a darker back as well. So I say two females, but just wondering if this one is more of a juvenile than an adult female? I dunno.

Also present were 72 Mandarin, 3 Goosander, 36 Tufted Duck, 8 Pochard and an old friend, the Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid. This is now the third site I've seen it over the last month, after Blithfield and Uttoxeter Quarry. At least here at Brookleys it was close enough for a photo or two.

Over to Uttoxeter Quarry until dusk, where Andy and I had another magnificent Goosander roost, a record-breaking 61 birds! In addition were 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 5 Snipe, 1 Shelduck, 93 Tufted Duck, 21 Pochard, 22 Teal, 75 Wigeon, 2 Great Crested Grebe and an impressive Coot count of six! A Barn Owl started hunting just before it got dark, always great to see.

Sunday 21st February.

Oh no, three inches of snow outside my front door! Why couldn't this happen in the week? Never mind birding for now, can I get to the supermarket?

Most of the snow thawed quite quickly actually, and with shopping done, just another check of the quarry. Not a huge difference to yesterday really, except for a drake Goldeneye, 113 Greylag Geese and my aythya hybrid friend! Ever get the feeling you're being followed?


Dom Green said...

Andy, great to hear so many birds are on the quarry now. I live in Uttoxeter and have been trying to spot the barn owl on the rocester leve for a while now, only seen it twice. Which field was it hunting in?

Dom Green said...

Sorry Richard, last name i read was "Andy" before i posted the comment, so i started my previous comment with "Andy", what a nut, please ammend. cheers, Dom

Richard Powell said...

There are obvious reasons why I won't give exact locations. However, at the time, the Barn Owl was viewable from the public footpath.