Unlike last year it was dull, dull, dull with a cool breeze. But at least it was not raining for the five of us as we walked from the causeway down the canal side. Unsurprisingly birds generally were conspicuous by their absence. Again without some really cold weather further north bird numbers on the lake tend to remain low. But that does not explain the lack of birds among the trees. Of course they are not calling yet and the light was poor, which makes spotting and identifying them harder.
 
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, Red Crested Pochard, Goldeneye both male and female (some mating display this year). No sawbills (Smew, Goosander or Mergansers) or Kingfisher. The lake also produced Coot, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebe, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Lapwing, numerous Black Headed Gull (a few gaining their black heads as they come into breeding plumage), a possible Herring Gull, and a few Lesser Black Backed Gull and Mute Swans.
 
So much for the lake what about in the trees?: A good flock of siskins, a first for some on the walk, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Magpie and Carrion Crows. We also saw Blackbirds and Robin and that was about it. Good numbers of Grey Heron were sitting on nests in the trees in the usual area and a first for a number of years, a couple of nests are visible from the causeway. Also a Buzzard was spotted over the trees by the canal - not a common sight.
 
All in all not too bad a morning given how quiet it was ornithologically among the trees. We had a tally of 30 species by the end of the morning.
 
Dick Beeden