As i arrived at my usual parking spot at Winter's Pond,i got out of the car to the sight of 9 Canada Geese on the grassland adjacent to the main lake,not the most exciting of starts i know,but these were my first of the year here and so the 88th species recorded so far.
After all the excitement of the Canada's i was on my way and decided to check the small pit at the back of the main lake first.
Quite a concentration of birds were seen on here and included 32 Gadwall,11 Tufted Duck,a pair of Pochard,14 Wigeon,a Little Egret and the resident pair of Mute Swans.Incredibly,still no Shoveler or Great-cd Grebes so far this year,but i guess it's still early regarding the grebes returning.
I had a quick walk down to the shore in front of the pits and walked along by the chimney and old brick kilns and enjoyed some lovely views of the local Tree Sparrows which seemed to be very vocal today,with much chasing and checking nesting sites out which was great to watch.
Along the shore towards the Skitter 47 Teal and 4 Shelduck were feeding and as i retraced my footsteps 4 Shelduck,10 Teal and 24 Curlew were on Winter's.
I then headed into the mitigation site and walked along the perimeter towards the Skitter.It was quite productive with the usual 4 Roe Deer in evidence,showing really nicely,at least 9 singing male Skylark,with several other birds sparring and chasing,6 Meadow Pipit,a single Cream crown Marsh Harrier hunting distantly and the best of the bunch 3 Stonechat.The latter were challenging as always to get a photo of,but showed nicely all the same.
A good walk around the Skitter and pools revealed little in the way of surprises,but 3 Water Pipit were still in residence and 8 Snipe were flushed as i walked.
A change of tack today,saw me heading inland and then along East Marsh Road towards Goxhill Haven and i put in some serious effort looking for an early Black-red around the Pig farm,but no such luck I'm afraid,but the resident Rooks at the Rookery were in fine voice and showed really nicely although i got the usual noisy reception as i walked by.Other niceties along here included 13 Yellowhammer,3 Common Buzzard and another group of 3 Roe Deer.
After arriving at Goxhill Haven,a quick check of all the suitable areas for any passerines didn't show up anything out of the ordinary but between here and Dawson City some interest was provided by a flock of 20 Black-tailed and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit as they fed along the shoreline and overhead 3 Peregrine chased each other with much calling and fake talon grappling,a great sight to watch.
On Dawson it was a continuation of the raptor theme,with 2 Marsh Harrier,a Common Buzzard and Kestrel and further along i walked out to the shoreline with some impressive numbers of wildfowl and waders including 400 Wigeon,at least 300 Curlew and 1500 Lapwing making for a great spectacle.
The section between Dawson and the Skitter was less productive today,with only 20 Pink-footed Geese seen and a Cetti's Warbler spluttered it's alarm call as i passed the small fishing pond near to the ruins.
The final section of my visit took in Skitter Road,the beck and the road back to Winter's with again,a few notable sightings which included another NFY species in the form of a Great-spotted Woodpecker calling in Red House Wood.Other species noted included a Little Grebe,Common Buzzard and 2 Teal along the beck and 19 Curlew,36 Mallard and the impressive sight of 85 Stock Dove in the wet field just before you reach Winter's.
So with a good 10.9 miles walked today and 2 more additions to the year list,another great visit to the patch was enjoyed....onwards and upwards to the 100 species mark.
|Chimney Nesting Tree Sparrows,Winter's Pond.|
|Roe Deer On The Mitigation Site.|
|Me And My Shadow.|
|The Lovely Sight And Sound Of A Male Skylark On The Mitigation Site.|
|Water Pipit,East Halton Skitter.|
|Water Pipit,East Halton Skitter.|
|Wigeon And Mallard,Goxhill Marsh.|