For our first outing of the new year, Keith and I visited the London Wetland Centre with the prospect of adding Bittern and Jack Snipe, two elusive species, to our new year lists.
On the entrance lakes we witnessed a fight between 2 Moorhens, presumably males, which was a clear sign that although the year had only just turned, the birds were getting ready for the new breeding season. Their way of fighting was to lay on the backs in the water and engage there feet as weapons. Most unusual sight, but to be honest it was a bit like posturing and eventually one bird swam off and no harm seemed to have come to either.
Moving on into the reserve, Keith spotted a female Goldeneye from the first hide.
The usual winter visitors were present including Geese (3 species) and good numbers of Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall. A single Common Pochard was seen along with a few Mallard and Tufted Ducks.
Away from the waterbirds, the morning was quiet, we had no luck finding Bittern, Jack Snipe, Fieldfares, Redwing or Siskins that had been reported the previous day. A Coal Tit on the feeders as we headed back to the visitors’ centre for a warming drink, was a pleasing sighting.
Suitably refreshed we set out on the west arm of the reserve. From the Wildside hide we found 4 Fieldfare and a pair of Stonechats. On Reservoir lake there were a pair of Northern Pintail.
With the light fading, we began to make our way back to the entrance stopping briefly at the Otter enclosure where the resident Grey Wagtail was present and very active. As we left the centre we saw a flock of birds alight in the top of a tree and closer inspection showed that this was the flock of Redwing.
We may not have seen our target species but a good enjoyable days birdwatching nether the less.
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)