8 members of the Bird and Wildlife Group met on a cold and foggy morning in the Visitors Centre at Hanningfield Reservoir. From the Centre we could see Blue Tits and Great Tits on the feeders in the bird garden and a Robin and Magpie were also spotted. On the edge of the reservoir Mallards, Moorhens, Tufted Ducks, Teal, Black headed Gulls, Little Grebe and Gadwall were seen.
We then made our way to the furthest hide. On the way we saw squirrels playing in the trees. Although it was still very misty we were able to see on the edge of the water and on the shingle and grass in front of the hide, a large number of Cormorants with their wings outstretched, Shoveler, Wigeon, Lapwing, Teal, Gadwall, Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull, Canada Geese, Pied Wagtail, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Fieldfare, Great-crested Grebe, Great Black-backed Gull and Tufted Duck.
On the way to the next hide a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard. We didn’t stay long in this hide and on the way to the next hide there was great excitement as two men with binoculars looking up into the trees told us that they had seen Treecreepers, Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits. Within a few minutes we had seen all three and stood watching them for some time – the highlight of the day.
Treecreepers are smaller than a Great Tit, mouselike with long down curved bill and long, stiff, pointed tail feathers. They move up (never down) a tree trunk or branch. Jerky movements are characteristic as they press their tail against the wood for support and rapidly probe the bark for insects. Once at the top, or perhaps 16m up a tall tree, they fly down and repeat their search on a neighbouring tree.
When we arrived at the next hide the mist had almost cleared and the sun was out so we had a good view of the reservoir. From there we saw a pair of Goldeneye and a Pintail in addition to most of the ducks mentioned above.
We were now feeling rather cold and in need of refreshment. Back in the warmth of the Visitors Centre while eating our lunch we saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeder. Other birds seen were Chaffinch, Crow, Starling and Blackbird.
After lunch some of us did some Christmas shopping in the Visitors Centre and then decided to make our way home agreeing that we had had a very enjoyable morning.
Birds seen: Robin, Mallard, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Teal, Black-headed Gull, Little Grebe, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Gadwall, Magpie, Cormorant, Shoveler, Wigeon, Lapwing, Teal, Gadwall, Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull, Canada Geese, Pied Wagtail, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Fieldfare, Great-crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Crow, Great Black-backed Gull, Long -tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Starling, Blackbird, Goldeneye, Pintail, Robin and Chaffinch.
38 species in total.
The group identified 97 different species of bird during 2013.
Lynda recently visited Lackfield Lakes, between Bury St. Edmunds and Mildenhall, which is cared for by Suffolk Wildlife Trust. She had heard that a Kingfisher had been seen really close to one of the hides and within a few minutes of going into the hide she spotted the bird perched on a dead reed, fish in beak and displaying the classic bashing and turning before swallowing. It then went into the thicker reeds and returned to the perch for a few seconds before flying off into the distance.
In mid November on a very cold, but bright and sunny day, Lynda visited Thameside Nature Reserve, nr Stanford-le-hope, where there are lovely views over to Kent and a really nice Visitors Centre. There were a lot of ducks, etc. in the water but too far away to identify, but she did manage to see a Stonechat.