Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Windy Wee Wander (15/4/17)

Once again when the weekend came around I could not get motivated to go anywhere, despite Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler both being within easy reach at Riverside Nature Park, and a mostly dry, if rather cold and windy weather forecast. Having spent all last weekend without leaving the house, I forced myself to head out for a short while mid-afternoon. Swannie Ponds was the destination so I wasn't expecting anything new, or even particularly interesting, but a bit of fresh air and maybe some sunshine was always going to be welcome.

Coot
It was shortly after 1405 when I headed out into what turned out to be a colder than expected day, with a biting wind feeling more winter-like than Easter weekend. The birds were keeping a rather low profile though a Herring Gull was gliding around near Court Street. A quartet of Jackdaws seemed to be up to something atop the billboards on Clepington Road, before 2 Starlings flew over. A Woodpigeon sped over a short distance further on, but overall it was rather quiet.

Reaching the ponds a few minutes later I found the usual suspects in place. A few Mallards, some Tufted Ducks, a trio of widely spaced out Coots, a single Mute Swan and a mix of Lesser Black Backed and Herring Gulls spread out on the water. There were a few more gulls dotted around the edges, but no Common or Black Headeds at all. A Chaffinch called as it overflew and I wandered round the path to look for the Long Tailed Tits I could hear calling. I succeeded in finding them in the taller tree by the northwest corner as they acrobatically foraged in the still rather bare branches.

A pair of Blackbirds picked around on the path and a Goldfinch sang from the top of another tree. I spent some time photographing a Coot which seemed to be a lot less wary than they usually are. This gave me some nice photo opportunities. An elderly gentleman came down to feed the gulls before a couple with a young kid wandered down to the water's edge. I paid little attention until I happened to turn around and realised that one of them was a friend of mine from my teenage years, Stuart Lawrence. We had a brief chat before they wandered off around the pond.

Another group of kids with a man pointing out the various birds to them stopped by and I got chatting to them, pointing out the Coots and explaining the difference between them and the Moorhens (which had decided to keep a low profile at this point). At this point the rain began and I sought some shelter by the trees. While it rained I spotted a Magpie picking round on the grass between the playpark and the bushes. A trio of Pied Wagtails chased around by the lower ponds and a calling Oystercatcher caught my attention before a Carrion Crow flew in. A Moorhen showed by the water's edge before I decided to head for home having been out for around an hour.

I added a flyover Blue Tit and a House Sparrow on a hedge to the rather short list before I made it home. As it turned out I had managed to get some nice photos, especially of the Coots so despite the rain it had been a worthwhile, if brief, trip out.

Coot

Mute Swan

Long Tailed Tit

Coot

Coot

Coot

Coot

Mallard

Herring Gull

Coot

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Herring Gull

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Pied Wagtail

Magpie

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Moorhen
20 species seen - Blackbird, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Goldfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon.

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