Naturelog: 24th January (1)


Why does it always seem to happen? I go away for a week and another local birdwatcher finds 2 first sightings of species on the Tarn. So on a bright winters morning, I set off to see if the birds were still there. The first thing I found was a Little Grebe ( a regular winter visitor) hiding under the bank.

Little Grebe
Little Grebe

The pair of gadwall (also a first record) first seen two weeks ago were still present along with a good number of Moorhens and some Coot plus a single Tufted Duck.

Gadwall (m)
Gadwall (m)

At the eastern end of the lake, I soon find the first of those new firsts as a female Teal is swimming amongst the bankside vegetation but eventually she emerged to be photographed.

Teal (f)
Teal (f)

As for the second species, I was hunting, a Water Rail, I knew where it was likely to be, but equally knew I would be lucky to see it. Maybe it would call from the vegetation. Whilst I was scouring the area, I noticed a small bird fly into nearby vegetation. It caught my attention and as I looked into the twigs and leaves I could make out a small dull bird with a black cap – ah a male Blackcap – used to be a summer visitor but we have had them over-winter here before. But as I looked I could see a pale cheek and that black cap is not right for a blackcap – now totally confused – was it an aberrant Great Tit with no colour? Then it popped out on a branch and it was a Marsh Tit (another site first!). It flew off before I could get a photo unfortunately.

Marsh Tit. Photo by Shawn Nystrand (
Marsh Tit. Photo by Shawn Nystrand (

I continued to search for the Water Rail but without any success – still there is always tomorrow!

Ring-necked Parrakeet
Ring-necked Parrakeet

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)


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