Sunday 9 January 2011

Burrator Reservoir Saturday 8th January

More local birding today, with a walk around Burrator reservoir. With all the wet weather of recent days a walk on the tarmac roads around Burrator seemed the best option to avoid the mud.

The water level at the reservoir was surprisingly low with quite a bit of shoreline exposed, more reminiscent of August than January. Apparently it has been a dry December despite the snow and ice and last year was a drier year than usual.

There was a good selection of wildfowl on the water today, probably due to the recent cold snap as often when I have been birding here there is very little to be seen.

8 goosanders were showing well, the 2 males looking resplendent in the sunlight with the green head plumage looking iridescent in the strong light. Also on show were a male and female tufted duck, 7 male and 6 female teal, 3 little grebes, a Canada goose following walkers along the waters edge looking for scraps, numerous mallard, more than I have seen here before and a female goldeneye, the first I have seen here. 3 cormorants were drying their wings on the shoreline, 1 with the white head speckling of summer plumage.

A goldcrest showed well in conifers by the roadside and a nuthatch was a nice find in the branches of a tree. Around 20 coal tit were feeding amongst the leaf litter in a loose group with a few great tit, but were very flighty. I have never seen them feeding in a group this size on the ground.

Despite the sunshine it was a chilly walk with a biting cold wind and it was nice to get back in the car for the journey home especially as the hordes were descending for their afternoon constitutional.

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