We have had quite an array of weather over the last couple of days. I led a guided walk yesterday; a few participants cancelled after looking out of their windows and seeing the deluge that was taking place however eight people did turn up to brave the elements. Despite the lashing rain the birds seemed unphased; in fact it was literally water off a ducks back!
Our species count totalled 33 and the species list compiled by Sue Lambert was as follows; blackbird, crow, mallard, greylag goose, cormorant, tufted duck, great-crested grebe, shoveler, coot, wigeon, goldeneye, jackdaw, robin, siskin, chaffinch, long-tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, goldcrest, green woodpecker, mistle thrush, teal, moorhen, redpoll, goldfinch, coal tit, dunnock, nuthatch, gadwall, pochard, mute swan, great spotted woodpecker. The highlight of the walk was unquestionably the perfectly posed bittern to the left of Ivy North Hide. As we arrived it was skulking about through the reeds and then as we were leaving it was standing right up out of the water on the island. Sue got this fantastic photo of it which she has kindly shared with us.
The rain was definitely on the attack in Ivy South Hide; with the rain pouring in through the open windows we all had to trial back seat bird watching which was actually relatively effective. Despite the conditions in the hide there was a report of the smew being seen to the right of Ivy South Hide. In the afternoon a very excited visitor on the lookout for bittern also spotted 2 over on Ivy Silt pond; one was sitting right out of the water, the other was a large pale coloured bird.
Today there were more hopeful visitors on the look out for the green wing teal and smew. The smew was seen early on over on Rockford Lake and an early morning visitor also spotted the green winged teal in the reeds to the right of Ivy North Hide when viewed from the opposite screen. For the rest of the day the pair seemed very elusive despite the number of eyes trained on the water. The bittern however was seen again; including a fly past. Two bittern were seen to the right of Ivy North Hide which climaxed in fisty cuffs as they got too close to one another.
A lunchtime splattering of snow caught out many of our visitors who came to warm themselves up in the Education Centre. As I watched the snowfall thicken and start to settle I could resist it no longer and headed outside.
Fascinated by the knowledge that no two snowflakes are identical, I have always wanted to look at snowflakes under a microscope. So today I did! I wouldn’t be able to say for certain that there were no identical snowflakes as they started melting faster than I could take notes but the ones I did see were beautiful. Photographing them through a microscope doesn’t do them much justice but here are some of Blashford’s snowflakes!