Sunday, 12 February 2012

Ice-hole Birds

The huge freeze we are having prompted me to visit Willen this morning in the hope something slightly less usual had dropped in.
 I started at the top end of the north lake to see that the whole lake ice-bound save for two small unfrozen areas and these didn't actually hold many birds. There were just a few Mallard, a couple of dozen Wigeon and a pair of Mute Swans in one and twenty odd Coot and a single drake Pochard in the other.
 As always I stopped for a while by the feeder stream and as often in these conditions a Water Rail paddled around in the smelly drainage water, another called nearby and three Snipe flew out.
Making my way towards the hide a Cettis Warbler sang out in defiance of the cold and a few Long-tailed Tits flitted through the reeds.
 From the hide the large flock of Lapwings remain but it looks like the Redshank has had enough and departed. The area of water alongside the east of the island was frost free and held good numbers of Teal, Mallard and 3 Little Grebe.
 The whole of the east side of the south lake was ice-bound and thus held no birds, but from a lakeside Pine a lone Goldcrest had survived Friday night's minus 10 and was happily foraging for it's breakfast.
 A flock of what sounded like a hundred Siskins was in the Alder on the other side of the river but in reality there were only about 10 - noisy little devils!
 Arriving near the Wayfarer there was an area of unfrozen water and this seemed to be cram-packed with all sorts of waterfowl, allowing close views of birds you wouldn't usually get anywhere near in normal times.

The crowded Ice-hole


drake Goldeneye


female Goldeneye

first winter male Goldeneye

drake Pochard


drake Tufted Duck

drake Gadwall

Great-crested Grebe

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