It's been really cold this week, with snow and ice dominating and a brisk easterly through to southerly wind making feel even colder.
Continuing restrictions have meant limited trips to the patch and a lot of birding on foot from home for the 5km patch list which is coming along nicely. I have been popping into the patch, if I've been passing that way and a 'change' in rules has meant that surveys like WeBS can continue as long as you stay local and obey social distancing rules. I suppose there had to be a relaxation given that it was legal to stand in a field and shoot birds but not to count them.
The cold weather has brought an influx of birds not usually seen in big numbers at this time of year. Hundreds of winter thrushes, particularly redwings are now on the coast, there are Woodcock, Snipe and Jack Snipe (we saw one today) in decent numbers and I counted 67 Meadow Pipits on the Budge fields today and 18 Stock Dove near the farm yesterday.
|Some of the Canada Goose flock yesterday with Pink-footed Geese in the fields behind|
The WeBS count was busy with big counts of Wigeon (352) and Mallard (106) but lower numbers of Teal (64) than usual. A Long-tailed Duck on the Big Pool was a bonus.
|All of the wildfowl are looking smart now and this drake Shoveler was particularly dapper|
The Budge fields were almost frozen over and devoid of ducks, a few Lapwing and Curlew needed counting though.
|The Lapwing were finding any shelter they could from the cold southerly winds|
|Carrion Crow looking for food on frozen ground|
|Moorhen legging it through the snow|