A Returning Visitor

Not a great day to be out and about, the temperature topped out at 4 degrees and it rained throughout the daylight hours. As a result the reserve was quiet, at least for visitors, there was a good range of birds about though. All the usual wildfowl were seen, apart from either of the pink-footed goose, although it might have been there as some of the geese were lurking behind the islands.

The woodland was busy with redpoll and several bullfinch much in evidence. The nyger feeders are starting to attract siskin and goldfinch already, so I think we might be needing considerable extra supplies before the winter is out, they don’t usually start feeding on these feeders in numbers until well after Christmas.

The peak time to be out was at dusk, the starling roost was again well over 25000 birds, mostly arriving from the north, although they did not perform for long before going to roost, perhaps conserving their energy with a cold night ahead. The gull roost included a ring-billed gull for the first time this winter. I think it was the returning adult that has joined the roost over the last few winters. I managed to get a few rather poor shots of it, typically it was not playing ball, mostly facing away from me.

ring-billed gull 2

ring-billed gull, preening.

This picture does show the pale grey mantle and narrow white tips to the tertials and scapulars. On a common gull these are much more obvious, being both broader and contrasting more strongly with the darker grey mantle of that species.

ring-billed gull 1

ring-billed gull

This picture shows the heavier ringed-bill than common gull and the pale iris, most common gull have a dark iris (although a few do not, so this is a character not to be used in isolation).

Last of all and when it was almost completely dark, I saw “Walter” the great white egret roosting in the dead alder beside Ivy Lake.


1 thought on “A Returning Visitor

  1. Hi Robert, I thought you were referring to me “a visitor returns” ha ha as I havent been over for a good while 😉 . There was a GW on the far side and corner of Ivy North Lake in the afternoon at 2 and 3 oclock boundary. My bins are strong enough to identify whether it was Walter although someone had noted he had been seen on the left channel earlier in the day. There was a lone Redwing feeding on the ground at the edge of the Bramble line of the Woodland HIde and im going to post you a pic for id purposes..of possibly the Water Pipit outside Lapwing hide late afternoon. For a change I got many of the “open window” positions…..those big lensed people arent very hardy are they 😉 On my way back, by the soggy path from Lapwing hide, there were four deer, would these have been fallow? Coats very dark with the rain, looked like a doe and three of this years. We faced off for ages then they didnt run, just hunkered down in the reeds so only their ears showed, thinking I could no longer see them…..lovely afternoon.

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