Friday, 10 February 2012

Friday 10th. February 2012

Acting on information received , thank you Simon / Mote Park-A Wildlife Patchwork , I made an early start to arrive at Mote Park just after 0830 , on another very wintry day . With all the work going on on the site , I had to park some way from previous visits , and made the 'Old Pond' my first port of call . Work has also been done here and with a fairly high water level , it didn't look good for Water Rail or a possible Jack Snipe . In fact there wasn't even a Common Snipe to be seen , an the
best I could do was a Little Egret , that could well have been at it's overnight roost . I then headed off around the lake , with 'Red-heads' as part of my target species . With the majority of the lake frozen over , I found that I had chosen the wrong end to aim for , as apart from a few Canada Geese and Black-headed Gulls , a Grey Wagtail , being videoed by a chap , was all that I found . I retraced my steps , passing the Old Pond again , even the Little Egret had gone , heading for the end where the River Len enters the lake , and the only areas of open water . On the way , I checked the Little Owl tree , and found nothing . But , as soon as I got down to the waters edge , I found 'red heads' , only
trouble was that they were sleeping Pochard males , not the Goosanders or Smew that I was hoping for . A search along the Len didn't turn up a Water Rail , or any Siskins in the Alders , but did
produce several Wrens . Just before the bridge , I met Dave , a local birder , with whom I spent the rest of my time on the site . Dave had hoped to find the Teal that Simon had spotted earlier in the week , but there was no sign of them today . I had noticed that there hadn't been a single Winter Thrush seen since I arrived , but shortly after mentioning it to Dave , a flock of about 25 were seen over the rough grassland on the other side of the bridge . WE stayed close to the waters edge on the far side of the lake , checking every reedbed and overhanging tree , but found nothing but Coot , Moorhen and Mallard . Getting back to the car park end of the lake , which I had reached earlier on my own , Dave suggested we had a look at another lake , outside the park , but viewable from within . After a slippery descent , we were looking through a wire fence into the other lake at Turkey Mill , and were joined by another local birder , Ken . As we arrived , one of my targets , the
Goosanders started moving from the bank into deeper water , and I was able to get a few shots  , here , five of the six drakes and a single red head . Typically , they moved to the furthest side of the lake and started diving amongst the bankside reeds . Four of the drakes left the others and tried their
luck up against what looked like a Victorian follie . Later the males dived together near a small bay on the far bank , and although I didn't realise it at the time , one appeared to catch a decent sized
fish , which caused a bit if a stir with the others . The fish is in the bill of the right hand drake . Of course , when any red heads came along , the drakes used the occasion to do a bit of showing off .
Just before we left the Goosanders , we were joined by another local birder , whose name I'm sorry to say , I can't remember . Dave , Ken and I , decided to return to the old pond , which was still very quiet , so we headed for the Little Owl tree . No sign at his usual hole , but a distant sighting higher
in the tree , before it was spooked by a couple of Jackdaws , and headed quickly to it's hole , not to be seen again . We had another look for the red head Smew where the river meets the lake , but , with workmen and machinery in the area , we never did find them . WE headed back to the Old Pond , and
to our delight found two Water Rails feeding out in the open . The clear views did not last for long
though , as soon after , the birds headed back into the cover of the dead reeds . We got sightings for
quite some time , but never again out in the open , staying well out of view behind the vegetation . We also met Simon's mum at the pond , and whilst we were engrossed in the Water Rails , 2 certain , possibly 3 , Simon's mum was fairly sure she had 3 Green Sandpipers fly off from the bay of the main lake , below the Old Pond . Ken left us here and headed home , Dave and I headed back to see if we could get any closer to the Goosanders , which we couldn't . So we headed back to our original
vantage point , from which I got just one shot of all 11 Goosanders . Their intention then became apparent , as all 11 took off , very unexpectedly , and were gone . I tried to get a shot in flight , but it
didn't come out as well as I would have hoped for , because of our position , surrounded by lots of tall trees . On the way back towards the Old Pond , a/another Grey Wagtail was seen , and also a couple of Brown Rats . I stayed at the pond for a while getting odd sightings of Water Rail , but none out in the open , and Dave made his way home . A really enjoyable away day , thanks to Dave , Ken and ( sorry ) A.N.Other , I'm terrible with names , really enjoyed your company .
As for targets , Goosander and Water Rail , but no Smew . In the words of Meatloaf , 'two out of three ain't bad' . And finally , thanks again to Simon for the information .


Anonymous said...

Hi again, its Dave, it was good to meet you again. After I left you the Little Owl showed very well and I was able to get even closer than before, took what look like stunning, to me anyway, shots. Pc playing up so not uploading them. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

Mike H said...

Sounds like a good time again Greenie intend to revisit Mote Park tomorrow. Only saw 2 Goosand er 2 Smew and 2 water rail Monday.

Simon said...

Hi Greenie, glad to hear you had a good day in Mote Park, shame I was busy working! Great Water Rail shots!

ShySongbird said...

Another good day there Greenie. Lovely photos of the Water Rail! Well done on the Goosanders, I have never been able to get very close to them. Lovely to see the Wren too, always difficult to photograph, I find.

Warren Baker said...

lots of species there that would have brightened my face if found here Greenie :-) I hope those Goosander come my way, mind you the ponds are all iced up here !

Rod Compton said...

Hi it's Rod - little owl man

There was a buzzard in the wooded thicket where I have my OTHER field hide adjacent to Norman Park all of today - Saturday. I flushed it and it was mobbed straight away by a pair of resident crows, and about two hours later on my return from Hayes the same thing happened again in the same spot. Flying in such confined quarters it was like a small aircraft. I am presuming it has come in after the sheltering birds and mammals.