Watch the Birdie

Big Garden Birdwatch

Last weekend (28/1/22 to 30/1/22) was the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. Birds seemed scarce on Friday and Saturday (at least when we were looking) but, finally, on Sunday (30/1/22) there was a bit more activity. Mary spent an hour (09:05 to 10:05) drinking tea AND counting the garden visitors observed from an upstairs window.

Here is her list:

2 x Crows

3 x Blackbirds

4 x Wood Pigeons

1 x Great Tit

3 x Blue Tits

2 x House Sparrows

2 x Collared Doves

1 x Robin

2 x Starlings

1 x Lesser Black-Backed Gull

This information was passed onto the RSPB.

Brockhall Quarry Visit

After a successful Big Garden Birdwatch, we paid an afternoon visit to our local nature conservation lake at Brockhall Quarry, former gravel pits owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

This conservation area is dominated by the lake and its islands, but also includes areas of open grassland (nesting ringed plovers), boggy areas, mudflats and woods.

It is a popular haunt for ornithologists and dog walkers.

There is always a sizeable number of Canada Geese and today was no exception - you can hear them even if you cannot see them. We had spotted, on an islet in the middle of the lake, a small gulp of cormorants (half a dozen or so) accompanied by a single grey heron. The heron either wanted to be on his/her own or did not fancy a fishing competition for his/her supper so attacked the cormorants and drove them off into the water. Almost immediately, a larger gulp of cormorants arrived to take up residence on and around the islet. The heron, now greatly outnumbered, was resigned to sharing the space and fishing rights with the cormorants and left them alone.

Here is a photo of one of the cormorants in its classical pose drying its wings after a dive. All photos were taken with a handheld Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ-38.

The most numerous species were widgeon (>100), both on the lake and the grassy areas. On the lakeshore, there were about half a dozen teal and a single lonely green sandpiper foraging for food in the mud.

Finally, here is a list of the birds (and approximate numbers) we saw at Brockhall that afternoon:

Black-headed Gull (<10)
Blue Tit (1)
Canada Goose (50)
Coot (10)
Cormorant (>20)
Crow (4)
Goldfinch (1)
Great Crested Grebe (4)
Green Sandpiper (1)
Heron (1)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (10)
Little Grebe (1)
Magpie (1)
Mallard (>20)
Moorhen <10)
Teal (6)
Tufted Duck (10)
Widgeon (>100)


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