Sunday, October 31, 2010
The early bird catches the worm. We all know this. This morning then, with the clocks going back an hour I should have gathered a bellyful by the Eastern Reedbed at first light and one of them should have had Bittern written on it. Not so. By 9:30 old time (my phone had disappointingly NOT reset its clock) there was no sign. Nice to see the Mute Swan family wake up though. One of the adults was fast asleep in front of the hide when I arrived and all was quiet save a few bleeps from the still monochrome Teal at the edge of the reed shadows, an occasional whistle from one of the Wigeon in the dark of the open water to the SE and one or two squeals from the Water Rails. Now there's some debate about these and whether they're residents or incomers for the winter months. Certainly I have never seen hide nor hair of them during the summer months, although a fellow patcher had a juv one year on Pumphouse Pool, so they have bred here in the past. Don't know. Anyway, they're here now... 2 or 3 I'm guessing from where the calling is coming from.
By 7:45 the swan had woken up. I could see Shoveler now and Gadwall in the NW corner and could make out a dozen or so Coot with a few Mallard and the Wigeon out on the open water. The swan gave a couple of high-pitched snorts and was answered from somewhere behing the main reed stand by a chorus of coarser, almost excited snorts from what I presume were the juveniles. 85 Jackdaw over and a Moorhen 'kurrrucks' as the juvenile Mute Swans, led by the other adult, appear from behind the reeds in a line. They swim behind the flattened bridge of reeds between the main stand and the island and then around the latter to join the other adult in the NW corner. Cue salutes from the youngsters toward their parent; necks stretched and heads flicked skyward. Bit like what *Whooper Swans do but without all the noise and much more sedate. Elegant. Lots of small stuff about today; 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 15+ Reed Bunting, 5+ Blue Tit using the reed fringes with a few Robins and Wrens. Kingfisher calling. 8 Canada Geese over E.
About an hour later (I'm guessing) I'm joined by fellow patchers Den and Mal. They're out for a morning mooch and have just had Green Woodpecker on Pumphouse Meadow. Green Sandpiper drops in for a bit and we all get a look at it. Lots of Meadow Pipits about today feeding on the grass bank including some very well marked birds. Tricky to count as they keep flitting about but good to see them at this end of the reserve. Later a Sparrowhawk puts them up and I count 10 as they disperse. No sign of the Water Pipit today but it may have been here the same day Mike and I grilled it on the Black Fields. It certainly flew in this direction but I'm in two minds - see photo (below) and comments on Moore facebook page and let me know your thoughts coz I've looked at it that much that I can't even decide how long the tail and bill are anymore.
*45 minutes after I get home, I get a text from Den... "6 Whooper over Birch Wood". Doh! Cudda done with them. Ah well, maybe next month.