Aylmerton Nature Diary

Friday 16th December

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Two ‘stranger’ Mute Swan – no doubt force up onto the water meadow by the ‘family from hell’

It’s been a busy week, but I did manage to get into the park yesterday morning. The weather continues to be mild and misty, with the occasional shower. The water level on the water meadows has risen steadily and we now have a small lake again above the sluice – great for the wildfowl. Teal numbers are high still, I did a rough count and made it close to 250. Mallard and Gadwall remain static, as do the two male Shoveler. There were two Canada Geese and two ‘stranger’ Mute Swan on the water meadow, whist the ‘family from hell’ Mutes remain on the lake. More Gadwall, a handful of Tufted Duck and a lone Wigeon accompanied them. There was no sign of the Coot. I walked through the rough grazing but failed to put up any Snipe sp. and, on my return through Common Plantation, repeated my failure with Woodcock. There were two Buzzard overhead though. Back at the lake, the Kingfisher did a complete circuit before perching-up, somewhere in the north west corner.

Canada Geese returning to the water meadows – as reported by Lee a couple of days ago

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Dead male Gadwall, the water meadow – cause of death unknown

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The most notable thing about the walk were Bullfinch. There were four in the shelter-belt and six up the lane, at the  edge of the village. I’ve been noticing an increase in their numbers over the last couple of weeks but ten in a morning is pretty unusual. This is either the result of an exceptionally good breeding season – which it may have been, or these are continental birds. None yet, however, strike me as being of the ‘Northern’ race, not on call at least, but perhaps it’s only a matter of time.. I hope so!

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