Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Goosetastic Trent Valley

I wanted to make the most of this weekend because for a few different reasons, that could it for birding time until over Christmas. Yesterday was a check of Uttoxeter Quarry and Brookleys Lake.

Still plenty of Canadas and Greylags around the quarry, but no wild geese. But more spectacular was the huge flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers, must've been around 900 Lappys and 500 Golden Pullovers. Also 25 Goosander, 21 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 3 Pochard, 7 Curlew, 7 Snipe and a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes.

As for Brookleys Lake, the Mandarins are back in force! 127 of them in the end. I think there's more around nowadays than people think, particularly in some of the river valleys like the Dove and the Churnet. Also 3 Pochard, 1 drake Shoveler, 1 female Wigeon and a calling Water Rail.

As for today, the main highlight has been White-fronted Geese in the Trent Valley. Arriving at Whitemoor Haye, a few heads of White-fronted Geese could be seen from opposite the quarry entrance. They eventually took flight and that proved there were seven of them. Also around were 14 Great Crested Grebes on the main lake, a Little Owl, loads of Mute Swans around Sittles Farm but no sign of the Bewick's that were present in the week.

Onto Croxall next. There's a guided walk next Sunday. Not that I'd be able to go anyway, I'll be recovering from the work christmas do by then. Looking at the sign, not sure how many terns they'll be expecting in December?

But anyway, a good number of Pochard at Croxall, 79 including this rather pale female. She's been in the area for the last few winters.

3 Redshank and a drake Goldeneye also, then walking back to the car five more White-fronted Geese flew over, heading towards Whitemoor Haye. They were seen by Bernie Smith at Whitemoor Haye and they continued west. So that's two groups of White-fronts around, totalling 12 birds, magic!

Finishing off at Blithfield, and good timing with the rain falling down, although Tad bay needs much more in order to fill it up. From the hide in Tad were 3 Dunlin, around 200 Golden Plover, 8 Goosander, 5 Goldeneye. And to end with, the gull roost from Watery Lane contained at least one adult Yellow-legged Gull.

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