23rd November

So we're getting near to the end of November already and closing in on the end of the year. The floods are still about but looking rather stunted - we really need some decent rain to expand them so that the two pools join up. This would encourage some decent gulls to the roost which is currently still rather anaemic.

Despite the lack of water there have been some modest Wigeon and Teal around as well as a few Lapwing and an increasing flock of Golden Plover with numbers creeping up to four hundred or more. Still no sign of any vagrant plovers in amongst them but we'll keep looking! Geese numbers are reasonable though the Barnacle Geese haven't really been about much of late.

This pair of Egyptian Geese have been around on and off on the Meadow for a while now

With the lack of water, the main birding action has been in Burgess Field. Indeed we have managed to get two new year ticks from here. Firstly a Woodcock was seen in flight at dusk there and secondly a Barn Owl has been seen (again at dusk) on at least two occasions. The second time there were also a couple of calling Tawny Owls about as well.

Apart from that it's been the usual species with a few Siskins, winter thrushes etc that one would expect at this time of year. There have been a few over-wintering Chiffchaffs about recently.

This addition of two birds to the year list has left us tantalisingly matching last year's record year list count of 135. A concerted effort over the last few weeks of the year (or alternatively just some good luck!) could see us break this record. Indeed Nick Boyd came close today with a possible Hawfinch over the St Edward's area but he wasn't able to confirm it. Other good candidates to take us over the line would be Little Owl, Red-crested Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Whooper or Bewicks Swan. Of course we could get an out and out rare. It's all to play for!

Despite the late floods this spring (which tends to kill things off) there is plenty of Creeping Marshwort around at the moment (if you know where to look). I took this photo when I noticed a clump right next to my tripod when the Pectoral Sandpiper was first found.


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