Sunday, December 27, 2009

Donna Nook And Covenham Res....

A trip down the coast today,with two sites visited and some great birds seen,this is what i saw.After arriving at Stonebridge car park at Donna Nook for first light,i made the decision to walk the foreshore area down to Pye's and back to see if i could find any goodies.The best of the sightings was a stunning male Hen Harrier watched hunting and perched on the ground at Pye's,it seems a long while since i have seen a male and you forget what a cracking bird they are!,with their lovely grey,black and white plumage,looking ghost-like as it drifted across the marsh .Also in this area were 2 Merlin,1 of which showed very well in flight at close range,the second bird being more distant and was watched chasing a Skylark over Grainthorpe Marsh,3 Lapland Bunting in a stubble field just to the west of Pye's and a massive flock of Dark-bellied Brent which totalled 1269 birds and also contained 6 birds of the Pale-bellied race.On the way back to Stonebridge other notable sightings included 35 Twite,just 2 Snow Bunting(south),100 Cormorant and 53 Pink-footed Geese(south,in two flocks of 37 and 16).After all this effort in the cold,it was time for some lunch and i enjoyed a hot cuppa before heading towards Covenham.
 On arrival at Covenham,a chance meeting with Mark had us walking around the res together and we enjoyed some excellent birds,with the following being seen.The best from a personal point of view was the continued prescence of the 2 juvenile Great-northern Diver,this time not being as confiding as on my last visit,with 1 of the birds being particularly difficult to get to grips with,with it almost continually feeding and we only saw it on two occasions.Also in the general area of the diver's was the single female Velvet Scoter which unfortunately was always distant,staying out in the middle of the reservoir,but you could still see the distinct head pattern and diagnostic wing flicking diving action.Thankfully much closer, was a single adult drake Scaup(with a first winter drake at the other end of the res)and 7 Goosander which showed superbly,the drake Goosanders being particularly smart,with their pinkish orange wash to the breast and flanks,bottle green head and strawberry red bills,both species being close to the yacht club buildings.Also seen today in with the resident Mallard flock was a very dapper drake Red-crested Pochard,my first for a year or so.A noticeable increase in duck numbers since my last visit which included 108 Tufted Duck,57 Goldeneye and 365 Mallard.Mammal sightings today included the expected huge numbers of Grey Seal at Donna Nook and a single Stoat at Covenham.An excellent day's birding.

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