© Andrew Moon

Like last year the weather was cool damp and grey with mist and very fine drizzle thrown in. The party this year numbered just 4. Clearly the weather had put people off. Again, without some really cold weather bird numbers were fairly low.

So what did we see? On the lake: The dabbling ducks were represented by some Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwall, and Shoveler. The diving duck representatives were Tufted, Pochard, 4 Red-Crested pochard at the Springwell Lane end, several Goldeneye both male and female all into mating display. No sawbills (smew, goosander or mergansers) or kingfisher this time. The lake also produced Coot, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebe (also thinking about nesting and mating), Canada Goose, Cormorant, Lapwing, numerous Black Headed gulls (some gaining their black heads as they come into breeding plumage), a few Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull and Mute Swan (about which more later), Finally we must mention the Little Grebe; the first I have personally ever seen on the lake and not a common bird for us.

So much for the lake what about in the trees?  Blue and Great Tits, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crows were seen in the trees along with Ring-Necked Parakeets, and Magpie. We also saw Blackbirds, Starling, Robin, Chaffinch, and Nuthatch. A few grey herons were sitting on nests in the trees in the usual area (some visible from Kingfisher hide), and a Red Kite flew over the trees towards the motorway.

All in all, not too bad a morning given how quiet it was ornithologically among the trees with a tally of 32 species by the end of the morning.

Back to the Mute Swan. We were fortunate that it was standing out of the water on Ark Royal which meant we could see its ring and read its number. This was reported and it turns out ours was the 64th record of this swan since the Darvic ring was put on it at Stockers on 28th September, 2009.  Those records suggest that It has only travelled between the Aquadrome and Stockers in all that time. Mike Reed welcomes any swan ring numbers, the black on orange numbers are easily read with binoculars and often seen well when the swan is out of the water. He just needs the date, place and ring number and will send the swan's history to the observer. His email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dick Beeden