Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wednesday 14th. December 2011 ( Part 1 )

I  had expected today to be much worse weatherwise than this morning turned out , and I had already started catching up on chores . By 10 o'clock , with Carol gone shopping , the sun was still shining , enough was enough . Chores were put aside for another day , I loaded up the car and headed for Bough Beech . On my way along the bottom lane , my suspicions from the last time I passed were confirmed ,
with not one nest but a second and the start of a third at the rookery . Apart from the birds involved in the nest building , about 20/25 birds were foraging on the horse fields , indicating how well this rookery has done over the last couple of years . Mind you , this early nesting might not be one of their better ideas . By the time I reached Bough Beech , the sun had become watery , and as usual there , the wind was cold off the water . Well , off what water there is , as the level of the main
reservoir is almost as low as during the drought year of 1976 , as can be seen here . This is the point where the under-road culvert joins the min reservoir and the North Lake , and at present the North Lake , which is fed by a small stream from the hills behind , is in turn feeding the reservoir . The bottom of the concrete causeway can just be seen bottom right and the waters edge is 10s of metres beyond . Normally at this time of year , water is pumped into the reservoir from the River Eden and the level of the water almost covers the whole of the concrete . A warning for next year ? The low Winter sun made it difficult to make out much on the main reservoir , but Cormorants , Great Crested Grebe and Teal were distantly seen . On the small North Lake , Teal were the most numerous species by a long way , with a single drake Wigeon amongst them . With not much else about , I made my way along to the Oast House , passing the orchard on the way , which was carpeted with fallen Apples , where a small number of Fieldfare were heard along with a couple of Mistle Thrush . Arriving at the Oast House Visitor Centre , which now has a brand new hide overlooking the scrape . Unfortunately the only species seen from the hide was Mallard . A look over the reedbed , which now sports a ramp to match the new hide , only produced a few Fieldfare flying down to feed on the ground . The only other people around were a couple who were refilling the bird feeders . he word of the replenishment must have gone around like wildfire , and several species , including a Marsh Tit were seen on the feeders that side of the stream . As I crossed the small bridge back towards the road , I had a second look for the Water Rail that resides in the area , but did not find it . By the time I got to the feeders in the orchard , they were alive with birds . The vast majority were Blue and
Great Tits , but other species like Goldfinch and Marsh Tit got used to my presence and freely came in to make the most of the replenished feeders . Some species , like the Nuthatch , were much more
reserved , searching for more natural food , but sooner or later , the lure of the feeders overcame their
reservedness , and they joined in with the main species . Lots of Blue Tits were coming to the feeders
but every now and again they too were joined by other species , here Robin and Great Spotted Woodpecker . The odd Starling also arrived , no doubt to find out what all the movement was about ,
often occupying a high perch to get the best view . But , when a flock of the species arrived , there
was no standing on ceremony , just crash bang , out of our way , this is ours now , and the smaller species got out of their way , and left them to it . Mind you , when something disturbed the Starlings , the small ones got in quick , and had a good feed before they came back . Also on the outskirts of all
this going on , an obviously married male Blackbird was quietly making sure that the Haws that he had been watching all year , became his meal , and not going to a foreigner . Just before leaving the
feeders , it was good to see several Greenfinches come in to feed , hopefully they are getting over the infection which has been troubling them . Feet now freezing cold , I headed back towards the car , and home , as I hadn't brought any lunch , but what distracted me ?


Mike H said...

Nice story so far Greenie with some nice shots. Hurry up with Part 2. Mike

Alan Pavey said...

I am obviously intrigued :-) Nice read Greenie.