Monday, January 14, 2013

Winter at last.....

Male Common Scoter.

Otter record shot on Grebe lake.

Bittern record shot.

One of the locals.

Scawby Park.
A morning out firstly at MSQ,then briefly at Ashbyville Lake and Scawby Park,saw me having a cracking time,with some great sightings and scenery.On arrival at Messingham,i got wrapped up and walked down the short distance to Grebe lake were the bird highlight was a cracking drake Common Scoter.It was watched diving for food with that lovely smooth action,unlike the open-winged flicking action of its Velvet Scoter cousin.This is the first record of this marine duck species for the reserve since 1977,an amazing record and a drake too,which is even more of a surprise.While watching the Scoter,it began to look very wary and then i saw an Otter porpoising not too far from were the Scoter was at the bottom end of the lake.The Otter and Scoter eventually came nearer,but they both wern't close enough for any good shots.It was really great to see this superb aquatic predator and it is the earliest in the year i have seen one.After watching these two crackers i slowly made my way around the reserve seeing a single Willow Tit and eventually arrived at the duck hide.While scanning across the lake,a Bittern suddenly appeared and landed in the thin reebed at the bottom of the lake and after about ten minutes it flew a bit nearer and then disappeared into another reedbed.This is the first Bittern i have seen here since last summer,so was a welcome sight.Other sightings around the main lake included 36 Pochard and 20 plus Tufted Duck and in amongst the Aythya flock were the wintering Scaup,today there was definitely 4 birds,so who knows were the fourth bird vanished to,perhaps the fishing lakes at the back of the reserve.Other highlights seen on my walk included 2 Common Buzzard and in the plantation the Scarlet Elf Cup are fruiting more now and unbelievably 1 male Smooth Newt was in the small woodland pond.After visiting Messingham i made brief visits to Ashbyville and Scawby Park,at Ashbyville the cracking Great-northern Diver was still present and healthy which was great to see,after several reports of it having fishing line in its mouth,but there was none apparent today.A fantastic morning out in the snow.

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