Monday, 31 October 2011

Burrator Reservoir, 28th October

The last day of my week off work, the time off being achieved without taking any annual leave but through a combination of night duties and careful requesting on the computerised off-duty request system known as MAPS.

The weather has been pretty rubbish during my time off, showers and heavy rain and windy most of the time with mostly mild temperatures but also a couple of chilly nights. It was half term as well so on our trips out and about it has been busy with people out walking their dogs and children and especially so on our trip up to Burrator for a walk around the reservoir.

The weather was gorgeous - blue sky, sunshine and no wind to speak off. The water level in the reservoir was quite low, the lowest I have seen it for a long time and surprising for October after what has been a fairly wet Summer and Autumn. We did have a very dry Spring so I guess the rain hasn't quite made up for the very long dry spell we had in March to May.

On checking the reservoir I immediately found a redhead goosander preening itself out on the water. Along the sides of the reservoir near the dam were a collection of mallards with 2 white feral geese. Walking around the reservoir siskins were heard calling in the trees and flying overhead but I failed to see any. I did however hear the "glip-glip" call of crossbills and on looking up managed a brief view of around 10 flying quite high overhead including a very red male.

Also seen around the reservoir were a red admiral butterfly feeding on ivy flowers, a flyover great spotted woodpecker, 3 ravens and a goldcrest. A winter plumaged little grebe was seen busily diving out on the water. Best find though were 3 roe deer feeding out in the open in a field of sheep, they were quite wary but fed out in the open near the edge of the trees and I managed a few poor shots of them with my camera. One was a male with a small set of antlers, one was a female with no antlers and one appeared to have the small antler buds of a immature male.

Roe Deer - a male with small antlers 

Roe Deer - a young male with antler buds developing

Roe deer - a female with no antlers
Getting back to the dam we enjoyed a 99 ice cream in the sunshine and watched a kingfisher fly off from the rocks below the dam, across the reservoir and out of sight, my first kingfisher sighting here.

It had been a lovely walk in lovely weather despite the crowds and the sighting of the crossbills has bumped my year list up to 167, I am hoping to get to 170 by the end of the year and with 2 months left to go I should hopefully manage it.

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