Monthly Notes from the Carsington Bird Club Recorders
Recorders: Clive Ashton, Roger Carrington
|Current Bird Notes for 2020/21|
DECEMBER 2020 BIRD NOTES
Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Ruff and a record count of Common Gulls.
What is thought to be our regular wintering Great Northern Diver arrived back as a Christmas Box on 25th. Water bird maxima were: 24 Little Grebe on 31st, 55 Great Crested Grebe on 30th, 33 Cormorant on 29th, 1 Little Egret on 6th, 3 Grey Heron on 25th, 40 Mute Swan on 1st, 2 Whooper Swan on 6th, 170 Pink-footed Geese heading W on 29th, 466 Greylag Geese on 9th, 378 Canada Geese on 31st, 3 Barnacle Geese on 25th, 321 Wigeon on 1st, 91 Gadwall on 15th, 320 Teal on 24th, 145 Mallard on 30th, 3 Pintail on 15th, 8 Shoveler on 6th, 468 Pochard on 24th, 364 Tufted Duck on 1st, 10 Goldeneye on 15th, 5 Goosander on 31st, 1 Water Rail in Hopton reedbed on 15th and 28th and another in WLC Creek on 31st, 19 Moorhen on 1st, 1345 Coot on 24th, and an escapee Black Swan all month.
Very little raptor activity this month, with a Red Kite over Millfields on 26th, 6 Common Buzzards in the air on 15th and 2 Peregrine on 1st and 19th.
Wader sightings included the Lapwing flock still at last months high of 600 on 1st, 1 Dunlin on 1st and 2nd, a Ruff was around Stones Island 6th-31st, a flock of 54 Common Snipe took to the air from Horseshoe Island on 9th, 5 Woodcock flew into Hopton End at dawn on 12th, 1 Curlew on 16th and 20th and 4 Redshank from 29th.
Gull counts were 13000 Black-headed, 1500 Lesser Black-backed and 1000 Common from Millfields at dawn on 20th and a site and county record of 2250 Common Gulls off Stones Island at dusk on 29th. Other Gull maxima were 8 Herring on 27th, 3 Yellow-legged on 25th and 2 Great Black-backed on 19th.
A movement of 1240 Wood Pigeon on 19th showed the majority heading northeast, 11 Collared Dove were around feeders at Oldfield Lane cottages on 9th and another 5 were around the Ranger Base and WLC on 17th. From Hopton end at dawn on 28th 7 Tawny Owls were heard, and 2 Kingfishers were seen during the WeBS count on 15th at opposite ends of the site, Hopton end and Millfields. There were 2 dunnocks singing at Hopton end on 21st and 2 Mistle Thrushes singing on 17th. Wintering thrushes numbered 30 Fieldfare on 8th and 200 Redwing on 20th. The maximum day count of Chiffchaff was 2 but, with 2 on Stones Island on 2nd and several other dates plus singles seen at other locations remote from Stones Island, at least 3 and probably 4 birds were considered to have been on site this month. Further evidence of Chiffchaff came on 23rd when 2 similar birds were flushed from a litter bin being emptied at dusk by Rangers. A photograph of one of the birds clearly shows a Chiffchaff. Were they roosting in the bin? The regular early morning post-roost Jackdaw flock numbered 800 on 18th and 52 Rooks flew over the site on 10th. A flock of 700 Starlings left of Hopton reedbed at dawn on 17th, subsequent site checks since found no further roost there.
A typical 93 species this December compared with 93 in 2019, 87 in 2018, 92 in 2017, 95 in 2016, 94 in 2015 and 91 in 2014.
NOVEMBER 2020 BIRD NOTES
Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Bean Goose, Hawfinch and Snow Bunting .
At the eleventh month, and finally, a new species to Carsington: Bean Goose with some excellent support species. Water bird maxima were from the WeBS count on 17th unless dated otherwise: a juvenile Great Northern Diver on 16th and an adult on 17-18th, 24 Little Grebe, 37 Great Crested Grebe on 10th, 26 Cormorant on 4th, 2 Little Egret on 9th, 3 Grey Heron on 2nd, 40 Mute Swan on 2nd, 6 Whooper Swan on 5th, a Bean Goose species flew south over the dam on 10th, 167 Pink-footed Geese heading NE on 4th, 500 Greylag Geese on 2nd, 507 Canada Geese on 10th, 2 Barnacle Geese on 2-20th, 337 Wigeon, 84 Gadwall, 200 Teal, 170 Mallard on 10th, 4 Pintail, 4 Shoveler on 7th, 2 Red-crested Pochard on 8-21st, 325 Pochard on 4th, 366 Tufted Duck on 10th, 5 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Merganser on 8th, 5 Goosander on 5th, 1 elusive Water Rail in Hopton reedbed all month, 25 Moorhen on 10th and 1349 Coot. The most photographed bird this month was an escapee Black Swan, present all month and usually found at Millfields.
Raptor sightings included a Red Kite on 3rd and on a few other occasions, 3 Sparrowhawk at the same time on 12th, 5 Common Buzzards in the air on 4th and 15th, an adult male Merlin on 6th, briefly perched on a roadside fence post along the dam, and Peregrine on 4th and 12th.
A Golden Plover was heard flying over on 8th and 13th, the Lapwing flock increased to 600 by 30th, 2 Dunlin on 30th, a flock of 50 Common Snipe were flushed from the dam wall in the dawn mist on 6th, and 27 noted on 17th included a flock of at least 20 flying around Watersports, and 5 Woodcock flew into Hopton End at dawn on 29th.
Gull counts were 11000 Black-headed and 1000 Lesser Black-backed from Millfields early on 20th, 500 Common mid afternoon in Brown Ale Bay on 4th, 2 Herring on 11th and 21st, 1 Caspian on 15th, 3 Yellow-legged on 4th and 3 Great Black-backed on 5th.
There was a massive nationwide Wood Pigeon movement southwards early in the month, which was well recorded at Carsington on many days between dawn and 1100hrs, with 1120 on 1st, 4250 on 3rd, a record 43200 on 4th, 10935 on 5th and 1920 on 7th. Five Great-spotted Woodpecker were noted on 4th and 5th, 31 Skylark flew over northwards on 2nd and then another 26 on 19th, maybe just heading from their roost to feed on Carsington Pastures. Meadow Pipit were around all month with 40 on 16th and, as winter thrushes moved through, their largest counts were 392 Fieldfare on 5th and 240 Redwing on 11th. A Blackcap was calling behind the Visitor Centre on 6th and 3 Chiffchaff were noted on 18th with at least 1 still around on 29th. Ten Goldcrest were noted on 4th and 20 Long-tailed Tit on 2nd. The dawn Jackdaw flock totalled 700 on 28th, 70 Rook flew over on 2nd and 2402 Starlings flew west in small flocks during the morning of 5th. Finches were well recorded, mostly flying over, with 79 Chaffinch on 2nd and at least 20 around Sheepwash car park feeder on 30th, 8 Brambling on 5th, 7 Greenfinch on 2nd, 20 Siskin on 8th, 12 Lesser Redpoll on 5th, a Crossbill on 4th and 7th, a Hawfinch on 8th and a Snow Bunting, seen and heard for 2-3mins flying around Stones Island, finally landing behind Watersports Island out of sight at 0800hrs on 20th.
A substantial 101 species this November compared with 95 in 2019, 93 in 2018, 101 in 2017, 99 in 2016, 101 in 2015 and 96 in 2014.