Posts Tagged ‘Goldeneye’

A crisp chilly morning and I was on my way to Norfolk / Suffolk borders with the local RSPB group. Our first stop (apart from a comfort stop) was at Lynford Arboretum in Norfolk. This is a known wintering site for the elusive Hawfinch, the largest of the UK finches. This autumn has seen an eruption from the continent with many more sightings than normal, so hopes were high. As we walked down the track, our attention is drawn to a Common Kestrel in a tree in the adjoining paddocks.

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And then it became clear that there were small birds in the top of an adjacent tree – these turned out to be a flock of Hawfinches. Unfortunately, they are too far for decent photos, but they can easily be identified through telescopes.

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Hawfinch. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

 

Six birds flew off, going away from us, and another 2 were still in the tree which brought the total seen to 8. I understand that a flock of up to 11 has been counted here in the past month.

Walking on down the path we came to the rear access to Lynford Hall Hotel and someone had put out some seed on one of the posts of the bridge over the stream. This attracted in a lot of woodland birds including Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Great Tit.

A Kingfisher was seen travelling back and forth along the stream and as we retraced our stops 2 Hawfinches were seen again in the top of a tree.

Making our way back into Suffolk we stopped at Lackford Lakes, a large complex of lakes adjacent to the River Lark. It is a good site for wintering waterfowl, but like many places in the UK, they don’t seem to have arrived yet in any great numbers, presumably due to the recent mild weather. Still a few have made it like this Drake Goldeneye which fed most of the day in front of Winter hide.

Another nice sighting was a small flock of Bullfinches seen near Paul’s hide

There were also a number of Marsh Tits at different places around the reserve but I couldn’t get any decent photos of them. Other birds seen included Tufted duck, Common Pochard, Eurasian Teal, Robin and Gadwall.

This was my first visit to both these sites and I look forward to visiting again in the future.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
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)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Eurasian Bullfinch [sp] (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
Hawfinch [sp] (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

On a cold chilly and somewhat damp morning, Keith and I made our way to east London to investigate the newly opened Walthamstow Wetlands nature reserve. Although Walthamstow Reservoirs (as it was previously known) has been accessible to birdwatchers for a number of years (by permit), the changes in water management has led to a new approach which has opened up the site to the public for more recreational use with the creation of footpaths and the conversion of the old engine house into a visitors centre and cafe. From here we had good views of a Red Fox.

Old Engine House, now the visitor centre

Red Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many circular walks and Keith and I headed off to the two reservoirs known as East and West Warwick. Her we found a number of species of gulls and duck. As we walked along the side of West Warwick a female Goosander took to the air and flew off towards the visitor centre.  Returning to East Warwick 30 minutes or so later we found that, or maybe a second, female Goosander present.

Common Gull

Goosander (f)

 

From the elevated reservoir path, we also saw a pair of Europen Stonechat and witnessed a tussle between a Kestrel and a magpie who both wanted the same perch.

Kestrel and Magpie dispute post

Stonechat

 

Crossing the Coppermill stream, past Coppermill Tower, which when open will give views of the entire reserve, we were surprised to see a Mallard with 13 small chicks, which could not have been more than a week or two old. Very late breeding – Witness once again to the mild autumn that we have had in London.

Coppermill Tower

Mallard with young

 

 

 

 

 

Making our way back to the visitor centre between No5 and No 2 reservoirs we found a female Goldeneye on No 5 and a number of Great Crested Grebe on No 2. By now the rain had begun to settle in for the afternoon and so after a warming cup of tea, we decided to forgo a walk around the northern section of the reserve which contains a further two large reservoirs and head for the station and home.

Great Crested Grebe

Goldeneye (f)

 

A wonderful introduction to a new jewel in Londons natural habitat, I expect it will not be long before we return.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Common Merganser [sp] (Mergus merganser)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
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)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

 

Goldeneye

Posted: February 26, 2015 in Birds, Natural History
Tags:

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This attractive medium sized duck can be found on lakes and coastal waters around Britain during the winter.

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Although originally a winter visitor, an increasing number have been breeding in Scotland since the first record in 1970. It is now extimated that 200 pairs are breeding each year helped by the provision of nest boxes.

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The UK wintering population is estimated at 27,000 birds

Goldeneye
Female Goldeneye
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

This morning saw Keith and I on our way to Staines Reservoir on the western edge of London. The reservoir, a large body of water divided by a central causeway, lies adjacent to Heathrow Airport. Our targets were wintering Great Northern Diver and Black-necked Grebes for which this is the only regular site in the London area.

Staines Reservoir (North)

Staines Reservoir (North)

Arriving at the eastern end of the causeway we begin to scan the large expanse of water and soon begin to get the common species. We have good views of Goldeneye and Wigeon which seem to be present in good numbers.

Goldeneye

Goldeneye

Wigeon and Coot on side of Reservoir

Wigeon and Coot on side of Reservoir


From about half-way along the causeway Keith locates the diver on the western shore-line moving towards the causeway. Hopefully by the time we get to the western end it will have come closer to us. Our attempts at finding the Black-necked Grebe are fruitless and after a while we can no longer locate the diver either. Some other birders say they may have seen it fly off, perhaps disturbed by the workmen on the reservoir edge.

We make it to the western end of the causeway and scan the Little Grebes which tend to congregate here in case a Black-necked is amongst them but with no luck. We decide that rather than returning back across the causeway we will take a walk around the adjacent King George VI reservoir to an area known as Staines Moor. Although you can not enter the reservoir area a footpath runs around the base of the bank giving access to the land which lies between the reservoir and the M25 London orbital motorway.

Staines Moor

Staines Moor

As we approach the northern end of the Reservoirs, I see a bird of prey circling above the road. Imagining it to be a Common Buzzard, I am surprised when I get my binoculars on it and find it is in fact a Red Kite (A London first sighting for me). Keith is quicker off the mark with the camera and manages to get a shot of it before it drifts off out of sight over the reservoir edge.

Red Kite

Red Kite

Our walk around the north and down the west-side of the reservoir adds a number of woodland and grassland species including Redwing, Song Thrush, Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit.

Staines Moor

Staines Moor

We turn to retrace our steps back to Staines Reservoir and one last look as we re-cross the causeway to make our way home. Keith quickly re-locates the diver, now in the middle of the reservoir and giving much closer views (although still too far for photographs). We continue to observe it from a number of points as we cross.

Great Northern Diver (taken at Staines 2012)

Great Northern Diver (taken at Staines 2012)

Just before we reach the eastern end, Keith finds 2 Black-necked Grebes mid-way between the causeway and the southern edge of the reservoir and we watch them for a while.

Zampullin cuellinegro - Podiceps nigricollis - Black-necked Grebe - Cabussó coll-negre
Black-necked Grebe in winter plumage
Photo by Ferran Pestana (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ferranp/)

Then it is time to head back to Stanwall to begin our journey home.

Once again an excellent days birdwatching!

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
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)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Northern Loon (Gavia immer)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe [sp] (Podiceps nigricollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
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)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)