Wednesday 17 January 2018

Red Crested Pochard at Burrator

Thursday 11th January and a bright and sunny but cold morning saw us heading out for a walk around Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor, something we have been trying to do for a few weeks now but have constantly been thwarted from doing because of the bad weather.

It was surprisingly quiet despite the good weather with very few people about and there were no photographers in the top car park so I failed to see any marsh tits but there were good numbers of coal tits around including a group of around 10 feeding together on the ground beneath some pine trees. Siskins were vocal and mobile and flighty in the tree tops and redwings were feeding in the leaf litter but the highlight were a pair of crossbills flying over, giving themselves away with their glipping calls.

The water level in the reservoir was high but it wasn't flowing over the dam and on the water were a male and 4 redhead goosanders, 2 white farmyard geese, a cormorant and a female red crested pochard with mallards, presumably the bird that has been eluding me on the River Plym for the past few months and which has also presumably been the bird that has been occassionally reported at Portworthy Dam near Lee Moor on Dartmoor.

 Red Crested Pochard, Burrator Reservoir

Red Crested Pochard

Red Crested Pochard

Plans for a long overdue walk at Wembury on Saturday 13th January were shelved due to yet more bad weather but Monday 15th was mostly bright and breezey and so I headed out on the bus for a quick walk. As expected the footpath was a treacherous quagmire and I spent a lot of time and energy watching my footing and not the birdlife but I managed to keep upright for a change and didn't get too muddy.

Highlights on the walk were 10+ cirl buntings in the sewage farm hedgerow which were very skulky and flighty, 3 chiffchaffs together feeding in the dead reeds at the base of the cliffs near the sewage pipe, a pair of kestrels, a 1st winter common gull feeding in the wheatfield stubble with black headed gulls, 2 adult lesser black backed gulls roosting on the rocks amongst the herring gulls and great black backed gulls, fulmars wheeling around the Mewstone cliffs and 2 male bullfinch feeding on bramble seeds.

Bullfinch, Wembury

Along the beach there were rock pipits, meadow pipits and pied wagtails feeding on the seaweed masses and I had a very brief view of a water pipit flying down to the rocks before then flying off out of sight, most frustrating but I will just have to visit again soon for another look.

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