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Eyebrook Reservoir

Winged Greylag Goose, EBR

Winged Greylag Goose, EBR

The drooping right wing of this Greylag Goose provides evidence that it has been winged.

I have no problem with shooting per se, but in recent years at EBR shoots on one of the neighbouring farms have all too often been followed by the sight of several injured birds on or around the reservoir. This is in marked contrast with my experiences on the Wash at Holbeach, where I have hardly ever seen wounded birds despite regular wildfowling.

The explanation presumably lies in the competence of those involved: I can only assume that those who shoot at EBR include inexperienced amateurs who are there for ‘recreational’ purposes.

Which leads me to ask, why is it acceptable for people to go out and injure or inflict pain on other animals for ‘entertainment’?

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Red Kite, Rutland

Red Kite, Rutland

This morning’s count was completed in calm conditions. There was no sign of the Whooper Swans or Red-crested Pochards present yesterday, but variety was provided by a Pink-footed Goose (present since September), increasing numbers of Teal and Golden Plover, and three Stonechats.

Despite the fine weather raptors were few, though as usual now Red Kite put in an appearance.

Yellow-legged Gull, EBR

Yellow-legged Gull, EBR

When we set out early today it was just three degrees, rising to 11 during the morning.

Because we count in the morning we record few gulls, but visits in the afternoon at this time of year should provide opportunities to see Yellow-legged Gull (like this one last weekend).

Highlights today included 99 Cormorants (a high count), increasing numbers of Teal, and the first Goldeneye of the season. There were, however, very few diving ducks, and just five Golden Plover with the Lapwings.

Amongst passerine migrants, a Rock Pipit was on the dam.

This morning was too cold for butterflies to be flying, but yesterday on the Wash I saw a few Red Admirals including this ‘white-spotted’ individual:

Red Admiral, Lincolnshire

Red Admiral, Lincolnshire

Mute Swan, EBR

Mute Swan, EBR

This morning’s count began in a cool 11 degrees, which rose by five or six degrees during the morning.

As usual in September there was plenty to see. Raptors included Osprey and six or more Red Kites, waders included the regular leucistic Lapwing, Little Stint and Greenshank, and the declining Spotted Flycatcher was amongst the passerine migrants.

Perhaps partly because the count date is earlier than normal, numbers of wildfowl were quite low; in particular, we did not see any Little Grebes and counted just single figures of both Pintail and Shoveler.

Of the six species of butterfly on the wing around the reservoir the most numerous was Speckled Wood. The first butterfly we saw, a Small Tortoiseshell, flew into a spider’s web on nettles where it immediately became prey (see photo on my Twitter feed).

The Little Owl tree, EBR

The Little Owl tree, EBR

The last count of this extraordinarily mild winter brought few surprises. Most of the wintering wildfowl have already departed, and breeding birds are already on territory. Returning Shelducks have risen to five.

The first wave of Chiffchaffs brought at least eight to the reservoir. A pair of Grey Wagtails were at the dam.

Eye Brook, February 2014

Eye Brook, February 2014

Last Sunday’s count was very quiet: none of the usual species was present in significant numbers. The most notable birds were the three Little Egrets all present and correct, and a Willow Tit.

Today by the bridge there were two Kingfishers and five Lesser Redpolls, but no sign of the Bittern or Cetti’s Warbler which have been reported during the past week.

Winter has now almost passed, with hardly a frost to speak of. A bumblebee (perhaps Buff-tailed) was already on the wing in the sunshine.

Little Egret, EBR

Little Egret, EBR

The unseasonal mild conditions resulted in an atypical January count.

Most of the diving ducks, grebes and Coot were absent. Highlights included a single male Smew, and the two Ruddy Shelducks remain.

The first bird I saw as it got light was a Little Egret – one of three still present. Other notable sightings included Raven displaying, and Willow Tit which can still be found along the brook.