Low Water Levels - Farborough Bank
Not having been to Draycote Water for several weeks, I was keen to visit at "gates open" this morning, before the crowds flocked in. The first thing that hit me this morning was the low water level - it can't be much longer before the islands are visible again (remember them?).
"We didn't see any NO DOGS signs!"
This couple with pooch were politely informed that dogs were not allowed around the perimeter road. They suggested that there were no signs saying no dogs, but decided not to continue with their walk and returned to the country park. (The dog was initially off the lead!).
My walk was rather pleasant, with some good birds and excellent weather. Farborough Bank held the waders - Redshank (1), Dunlin (2ad 1juv) and Little ringed Plover (1ad 2juv). Around thirty Yellow Wagtail's mainly juveniles, but with a few adults flitted on the water line and getting into conflict with the Pied Wagtails.
When I arrived at the Farborough Point, my attention was drawn to a large duck that I took to be the female Goosander. However, this bird did not look right! My first thoughts were Red Breasted Merganser (year tick) but I was unsure. A few images were reeled off, but the bird was quite distant. A glance at my field guide did not really help and I was puzzled until I got home and had a look at Collins. The bird looked like a drake eclipse Red Breasted Merganser but never having seen one in eclipse, I decided to gain the opinion of a few respected birders. I thnk it is indeed a drake eclipse Red Breasted Merganser but if anyone reading this wishes to comment, I shall be pleased to learn.
In Toft Shallows, five Dabchicks were my first at Draycote since before the cold spell in December 2010! A Raven honked overhead and three Common Terns headed towards the valve tower. The female Goosander loafed near the valve tower. The walk around the rest of the perimeter was uneventful save a very mobile Little Egret that flew from Rainbow Corner towards the golf course. Three female Shoveler were off the outlet.
Red Breasted Merganser
Yellow Legged Gull
Goldfinch; Wood Pigeon; Rook; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Robin; Black Headed Gull; Blackbird; Blackcap; Blue Tit; Great Tit; LBB Gull; House Martin; Pied Wagtail; Swallow; Mute Swan; Mallard; Coot; Wren; Canada Goose; Cormorant; Dunlin; Tufted Duck; Little Ringed Plover; Redshank; Yellow Wagtail; Jackdaw; Dabchick; Lapwing; Grey Heron; Pochard; Kestrel; Green Woodpecker; Greenfinch; Willow Warbler; Moorhen; Yellow Legged Gull; Stock Dove; Chaffinch; Raven;Common Tern; Dunnock; GBB Gull. Yellowhammer; Little Egret; Shoveler; Buzzard; Red Breasted Merganser.