Posts Tagged ‘Gadwall’

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.

Moorhens fighting

 

Moving on into the reserve, Keith spotted a female Goldeneye from the first hide.

Common Goldeneye (f)

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.

Eurasian Wigeon

Greylag Goose

Gadwall

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.

Fieldfare. Photo by Hdera Baltica (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hedera_baltica/)

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.

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)

Fieldfare. Photo by Hdera Baltica (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hedera_baltica/)

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In the midst of a very busy week in which even blog posts had to take a back seat, it was good to find some time for a visit to the Tarn.

The weather has turned cold again and there is a forecast of snow over the coming days. But it was clear as I began to scan the lake for any new arrivals. The pair of Gadwall are still present but the Eurasian Teal and the Little Grebe that arrived in the last cold spell seem to have moved on.

Gadwall

Gadwall

In fact, it was rather quiet apart from a large flock of Moorhens feeding on the weed, there were no real surprises with just the resident populations of Mallard, Tufted Duck and Coot. The numbers of Moorhens on Tarn have been high this winter – previously 10 was a very good count, but this winter counts of 15-20 are regular and on one occasion the number was over 30. Whether they have been attracted by the weed I don’t know but the group of about 20 today were actively feeding on it.

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A Black-headed Gull seems to have taken a liking to this half-sunken platform as he/she has been roosting here on each of the last 3 visits I have made – they are colony nesters so I can’t think it is prospecting a nest site.

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Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
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)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Naturelog: 30th January

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Birds, London, Natural History, UK
Tags: ,

It’s the weekend of the RSPB winter garden bird count and as long-serving readers of my blog will know this is the weekend when all the birds desert my garden and go somewhere else. All those everyday visitors, regular throughout the week leading up to the count simply vanish!

Still there is always the hope that this year would be different and to be fair it was a more representative count than in some past years with pairs of Dunnocks, Blue Tits and Great Tits visiting the feeder station along with Blackbirds and our usual legion of Crows supplemented by a couple of Magpies and a Jay. Two Chaffinches were an uncommon visitor to the garden and made it onto this year’s return.

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Around lunchtime, I had to go up to the Town centre and took the long route around the Tarn in the hope of seeing the Water Rail that had been seen when I was away. The lake was no longer frozen, reflecting the slight increase in temperature over the last week. The pair of Gadwall were still present but I could not find either the Little Grebe or the Teal which had been present during the thaw – maybe they have moved on although it could just be they were hidden from sight in the bankside vegetation on this occasion. No luck with the Water Rail either but I did locate a Redwing. These too have disappeared from the garden now the temperature has risen presumably to feed on the nearby open land now that the frost has gone. It is interesting how only small variations in temperature can affect the local distribution of birds.

Gadwall

Gadwall

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
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)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

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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)

Coot

Coot

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 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/the_webhamster/)

Marsh Tit. Photo by Shawn Nystrand (https://www.flickr.com/photos/the_webhamster/)

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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Made a detour on the way home for a walk around the Tarn. I was looking to see if I could find the Grey Wagtail which has been frequenting the feeding station in the garden for the last couple of weeks and which I presume is over-wintering on the islands in the Tarn.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

I couldn’t see the Wagtail but a real delight was a pair of Gadwall on the lake. This is a first record here for me in 16 years of observation.

Gadwall

Gadwall

Another interesting sighting was a total count of 30 Moorhens around the lake. The previous high count was 13 in October 2014 and only 3 counts over 10 in the last 6 years. So where have they all come from?

Moorhen

Moorhen

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Mallard

Mallard

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
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)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

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A chance for a day’s birdwatching and so Keith and I head off for the London wetland centre – Target species Bittern and Jack Snipe which have both been seen there recently. On arrival we make our way straight to the tower hide as this is the best place to see booth species. On the way we get a brief glimpse of a Chiffchaff, once a summer visitor but now more increasingly over-wintering. There are good numbers of wintering duck especially Wigeon and Shoveller on the grazing marsh.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

We are soon grateful that we are in a hide as a heavy rain shower passes through.

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Good views are had of a group of Common Snipe on the grazing marsh but no sightings of either Bittern or Jack Snipe today.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

 

We head off to the other side of the reserve seeing Teal and Gadwall on the way.

Gadwall

Gadwall

 

But things are relatively quiet here too and only a large flock of Shoveller are on the Northern Lake.

Northern Shoveller

Northern Shoveller

The light is now going and so we head back to the reserve centre but on the way Keith spots a  Green Woodpecker silhouetted against the setting sun.

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

As always a good days birdwatching even if our two target species eluded us this time

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
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)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Keith and I went off for a days birdwatching at the London Wetland centre.

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Our arrival was greeted by a party of Pied Wagtails at the entrance to the reserve and these were briefly joined by a Grey Wagtail, which was unfortunately flushed by a passer-by before we could get photos. We proceeded to walk the southern route first stoping at the hides on the way to the central tower hide. There were a good selection of species on show but none of the reserves specialities (Bittern, Jack Snipe, Water Rail) were visible.

Wigeon

Wigeon

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Gadwall

Gadwall

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Little Grebe

Little Grebe


Whilst in the tower hide we heard that a Bittern had been seen near the WWF hide and so we retraced our steps hoping to find it still on show, but alas no luck. Then it was off to the coffee shops for a cup of hot chocolate to drive out the effects of the biting wind before making our way along the northern side of the reserve. We continued to add species to the days list but still those specialities eluded us. We spent the last hour in the Wildside hide looking out over the reed bed in the hope of seeing a Bittern flying to roost but it was going to be one of those days although we were treated to the sight of the Ring-necked parakeets flying to roost as we made our way back to the centre in the the fading light.

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A good days birdwatching nether the less with a total of over 40 species on our final list.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
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 Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Gadwall

Posted: January 23, 2014 in Birds, Natural History
Tags:
male Gadwall

male Gadwall

Male and female Gadwall

Male and female Gadwall

At first sight, the Gadwall might appear as one of the drabber of the U.K.’s waterfowl. It’s plain grey plumage, though, on close inspection is in fact made up of subtle speckling and barring. I have to say that of all its lack of colour, I find the Gadwall one of my favourite birds. It just seems very smart. Apart from its uniform colouration, the species defining feature is the white wing patch which can often clearly be seen while swimming and it’s very obvious in-flight.

The gadwall breeds in south and east England, with smaller colonies in east central Scotland and on the eastern coasts of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. It is estimated that in the UK there are between 1000 and 1500 breeding pairs with a wintering population of around 25,000 when the UK population is joined by migrant birds from Northern Europe.

male Gadwall

male Gadwall