24th December

The flood waters are now a good size with regular rain ensuring that they have been increasing steadily. The ducks are very pleased with this and are now back in good number. Indeed, I did the monthly WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) counts at the end of the first week and the total were very encouraging:

Pintail: m.
750 Wigeon
113 Teal
82 Lapwing
Golden Plover
34 Mallard
4 Moorhen
Canada Goose
220 Greylag Goose
Little Grebe

Since then I'd say that Wigeon numbers have gone up even more. There's also been a drake Shoveller hanging around feeding in the ditch by the allotments and one day he popped over to the Trap Grounds to give that site its first record of this species.

The Shoveller was showing rather well in the allotment ditch
Apart from that there have been good numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare feeding in the Hawthorn along the Aristotle Lane footpath and along the allotment border.

One of the many Redwings in the footpath Hawthorns

It only remains for me to wish readers a very Merry Christmas. I will be doing a review of the year at some point over the next week or so.

2nd December

Thanks to some decent rain at last the floods have finally started to expand towards a more decent size. It feels rather like this rain has come about a month later in the year than usual, no doubt down to the dry autumn that we've had. Still at least the waters never actually dried up again as I feared they would before the wet spell arrived.

On the bird front for me it's mostly been about checking out the gulls. In fact there's been precious little else to look at with the small size of the waters meaning that there weren't even any winter duck about until the last few days when the rain really arrived. There's not been anything as good at the Caspian Gull that was reported in the last post though a few YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS have been worthy of note. 

One evening about 160 of the usual Home Counties BARNACLE GEESE paid us a visit. They are pretty much an annual event these days but it was still nice to see them again. As I mentioned above, it's only in the last few days that the WIGEON and TEAL have been back in numbers. On my last visit there were about 260 of the former though only a few dozen of the latter. There have also been a few dozen Lapwing about and the occasional Golden Plover though a large flock of several hundred were reported up at the Wolvercote end one evening.

So as we head into December, what can we look out for? Well, it's mainly going to be more gulls though we should get more variety on the duck front as well (Pintail and Shoveller perhaps) and perhaps a few over-wintering Redshank.

By way of a photographic offering here's a Meadow Pipit