© Andrew Moon

Dick Beeden led the walk which was attended by 6 other people. Like last year it was windy and cool. This year clouds were scudding across the sky in the strong winds giving periods of bright sunshine on and off throughout the morning. This gave pretty good light for identifying the birds most of the time. There were a good number on the lake but the surrounding trees etc were fairly quiet. We saw all the species we heard and ended with a tally of 30 species (half a dozen less than last year).

The full list was:
Great-crested Grebe; Cormorant; Grey Heron; Little Egret; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Egyptian Goose; Mallard; Shoveler (lots probably 150 or so); Red-crested Pochard (two groups of 6 or so at each end of the lake); Pochard; Tufted Duck; Wigeon (may be a dozen compared with a lot last year); Gadwall; Wren; Goldeneye; (males and females in modest numbers with one male displaying); Moorhen; Coot; Lapwing (more than we thought out on the islands once you got your eye in); Black-headed Gull (lots); Lesser Black-backed Gull ( several); Woodpigeon; Ring-necked Parakeet; Jay (good views); Robin; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Long-tailed Tit (at least two flocks); Goldfinch; Magpie. There were some noticeable absentees apart from Smew and Goosander namely; no raptors; Kingfisher; Woodpecker; Dunnock; Chaffinch; Starling; Blackbird; Wren; siskin and Carrion Crow.

Not counted in the tally is the unexpected sighting of an American Wood Duck being fed along with 2 swans and a few Mallards by the seat in the North West corner of Bury Lake as we made our way back along the causeway. It would be nice to think this was a very rare migrant blown across the Atlantic (winds are strong enough at the moment) but it is much more likely to be an escapee used to humans being around and a source of food. Still like others on the walk I have never seen one in the wild before.

We also stopped in Kingfisher hide to have a look at the heronry through the nest cameras out on the islands. Interestingly several birds were occupying nest sites but not yet displaying nesting behaviour (unlike my visit a few days later where at least two pairs looked like they were into nest building). Given that the earliest eggs might well be laid at the end of January this is not unexpected.

Dick Beeden