Not surprisingly I failed to relocate the Grandborough Valley Great Grey Shrike this morning due to poor visibility but the same conditions ensured the male Merlin never new I was there as it perched just 10 yards away on a fence post. Earlier 2 Barn Owls appeared out of the gloom so along with the 700 Linnet and 12 Tree Sparrow it was not a wasted visit.
I was watching the male Stonechat near Valley Farm along Hill Rd when a call to say a Bittern was on the ice near the Birdingbury Bridge forced me to risked life and limb along the A428 to arrive to the news it had walked off the canal heading for a small reed bed at the end of the field that the “happy clappy” travelers are in. The adjacent Stockton Cutting had 19 Long-tailed Tits.
Visibility was starting to improve when I arrived at Draycote Water with 20 Goldfinch and 3 Linnet in the sailing club lower car park, Coal Tit on the feeders in the ranger’s yard and a Water Rail in the frozen ditch by the entrance. There was still one Great-northern Diver off inlet, female Common Scoter out in centre, 2m & 1f Red-crested Pochard off the windsurfing area and male Smew near valve tower. Duck numbers still good with 15 Goosander, 128 Pochard, 36 Goldeneye, 19 Gadwall, 2 female Shoveler, 167 Teal, 230 Wigeon, 300+ Canada Geese, 7 Graylag and female Ruddy Duck. Also present were Green Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, 10 Yellowhammer, 5 Collared Dove, 7 Bullfinch, 2 Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. The roost had adult Caspian Gull adult Med Gull and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull.
Bewick's Swan, Church Lawford by Pete Hall
Of interest there are still 5 Bewick’s Swans today at Church lawford and Colin found out the history of 606 Grindul from Julia Newth Wildfowl & Wetlands Research Officer at Slimbridge.
It was ringed 19/12/05 at Slimbridge and by March 2006 it was in the Schleswig Holstein area of Germany. Returned to Slimbridge 4/11/06 and then not sighted on its travels until 15/11/08 on Friesland, Netherlands and again on 28/01/09 before it spent at least 23/02/09 to 21/03/09 on the Schleswig Holstein, Germany