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.