Monday, 12 January 2009

Catch them while you can

Plenty of great birds about at the moment – on Saturday, I walked around Cossington Mill / Wanlip North Lakes and had a look for the wildfowl that have been attracting plenty of attention.

There’s one good spot on the path overlooking the whole area, so I set up my scope next to an old chap who arrived just ahead of me, and we started scanning the flocks of geese. We quickly found the White-fronts (counting 16 in the end), and as we checked again after a quick conflab, I could see the juvenile dark-breasted Brent Goose on one of the small floods. It’s a common enough species UK-wide, of course, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one on my very inland patch before.

A lot more scanning produced a Pink-footed Goose, and on the walk back to the car, I crossed the bridge at the weir just as the juvenile Whooper Swan was passing by with a small group of Mute Swans. As I stepped off the bridge, a Stoat ran past only a couple of yards away, and then hid in the vegetation at the base of a tree. Simply standing still often encourages them to come out for a look, and sure enough, its curiosity soon got the better of it, emerging to watch and scent for a few moments before streaking off into the scrub.

Of course, being 80-odd miles from the sea, we don’t get a huge variety or number of wildfowl, but geese on a really cold day in winter are always thrilling, regardless.

As if that wasn’t enough, there was a decent-sized flock (I counted 48) of Waxwings around Meadow Lane in Loughborough yesterday lunchtime. I was only passing, on the way to cricket coaching, but had enough time to watch them being warned off a berry-laden tree by an extremely irate Mistle Thrush. Not that it worked for long, as they soon returned to feed frantically.


Mistlethrush said...

Thanks for the hint about encouraging stoats to come out.

Waxwings - lucky you. I've not seen any yet. But there's hope still

(My blogger name is Mistlethrush - but I'm not the irate one!)

Matt Merritt said...

Hi Mistlethrush. Someone at my old job told me that about stoats, and it really does seem to work. They're very curious and will sometimes come very close.