Thursday, 22 December 2011

Unseasonal

It was a warm and sunny walk around Shipley Lake this morning.  Decked out in our coats, Malcolm and I soon began to wish we had not worn so many layers.  I took some binoculars with me this morning to see what I could see on the lake and in the surrounding trees.  I had seen a couple of days ago that a small flock of Lesser Redpolls (Carduelis cabaret) had been seen feeding in the Birch and Alder trees and I was just telling Malcolm to keep his eyes peeled, when there they were.  About half a dozen of these delightful little birds were acrobatically feeding in the very tops of a Birch tree.  Sadly, no photo opportunity this time as they were so high up and so small among the twigs, but another good 'tick' for my life list and one which brings my list to 200.  More info on Lesser Redpolls can be had by clicking HERE.
Turning my binoculars toward the water, there were dozens of Gadwall still in residence as well as Widgeon, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Mute Swans, One Canada Goose, a few Cormorants, numerous Gulls and Coots.  The lake is becoming a real haven for wildfowl of all types.  Far off (why are they always so far away?) were a group of around 12 pairs of Goosander (Mergus merganser) drifting about on the water.  The males are stunning in their black and white plumage, even from a distance.  Again too far away for a photo, but good to see nonetheless.  So, just one picture today of a female Pochard (Aythya ferina) which always seems to be present on 'Swan Lake' at Straw's Bridge.
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