Aylmerton Nature Diary

Friday 29th December

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Magpie – a bird I don’t feature regularly in the blog. Not perhaps many peoples favourite species but very handsome all the same – this one was in pines at the edge of the village

We spent a lovely Christmas in Cambridgeshire at Matt’s place, with all the UK-based boys. Not a lot of time spent birding but we did add Wren and Woodpigeon to their new garden list and planted a couple of Rowan and a Crabapple tree, in the hope of attracting  some winter Waxwing in years to come!

The weather here on Wednesday was pretty wretched so it was yesterday morning before I managed to get out on the patch. I took the long way round, past the hall, to the lake in the vain hope of finding Hawfinch – which I did not. The water meadow was frozen so all the wildfowl was on the lake. Nothing new but I did find the hybrid Tufted x Ferruginous Duck amongst the Tufties, a single Wigeon and heard the Water Rail in the reed-bed. I continued on through Common Plantation – no sign of any Woodcock, past the Field Study Centre and on to Sustead Common. Here there was nothing new either, but the feeders are obviously being well used – probably explains the patrolling Sparrowhawk, and the water levels in the beck were the highest I’ve seen since visiting the site. It’s good to see the newly created winter scrape doing it’s job. I called in the park on the way home, the only notable thing being the appearance of fifty or so Teal along the margins of the water meadow.

The hybrid Tufted x Ferruginous Duck (far right) showing a chestnut rather than purple crown, no ‘tuft’ and smokey flanks

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