Sunday, 13 November 2011

Some Wildfowl and some Gulls

That's a rather unimaginative blog title this time, because that could be the same over the next few months!

But over this weekend, there's a definite increase in duck numbers at my birding sites near home. Starting off at Brookleys Lake yesterday, Mallards up to at least 250, 60 Tufteds, 3 Teal, 2 Gadwall and a drake Pochard. It was only the Mandarins that hadn't increased, still only about 10.

The most interesting count at Uttoxeter Quarry were the Teal, a whopping 104, by far the largest number I've seen there. The female Red-crested Pochard still around, 52 Tufteds, 16 Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Pochard, 6 each of Goosander and Gadwall. Also still around 50 Golden Plovers present, 5 Curlew, 6 Snipe and 1 Dunlin. There was also a large flock of gulls which contained 2 adult Yellow-legged, 1 Herring and 2 Common.

I haven't explained yet since getting back from the Scillies, Uttoxeter Quarry's main pit has filled right up again. At the furthest point of the gravel pit from the public footpath is the River Dove. For some reason the gravel company have dug a hole in the river bank, allowing the gravel pit to flood. I don't really understand why they've done it, particularly as it's also being pumped out!

Whatever the reasons for it, it's looking great for wildfowl again. And onto today, where stood on the footpath at the quarry, behind my left shoulder were a few high-pitched squeaks in amongst some goose honking. Turned round and four grey geese were coming over. Pink-feet were the initial thought, but getting my binoculars on them they turned out to be White-fronted Geese! Wonderful, the black marks underneath were very clear.

Unfortunately they just carried straight through. The only other difference were Pochard had now increased to 6. The possible/probable Azorean Yellow-legged Gull had reappeared at Chasewater the previous evening. I'd quite like to see it just to see for myself how different they look. So that was planned for later, but time to check Tad Bay in Blithfield first.

Tad Bay revealed 9 Goldeneye, 2 Goosander, 29 Dunlin, 3 Snipe and a flock of around 300 Golden Plover.

I haven't been to Chasewater since the Franklin's Gull was there in July last year. The tide's still out!

The work on the dam has now finished, and the water is higher since old Franky Boy was here. But there's still a long way to go until it's full.

Despite the probably Azorean YL Gull being seen on Cannock tip during the day, it wasn't found in the roost. There was a interesting-looking candidate, but the concensus of opinion was it wasn't quite right. But there was a myriad of Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls around, in different ages, shapes and sizes. Also the adult Caspian Gull in after spending the day at Stubber's Green and an adult Med Gull.

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