Friday, 6 January 2012

Could the Blood be Rising........?

Despite ice on a number of the lagoons at Tophill, a number of the birds seem to be readying themselves for spring. The Teal on Watton are clearly in the mood with the drakes displaying – a curious bobbing of the head followed by a rising of the tail. The Teal were joined by the Mallard, and today saw a lone Goldeneye displaying to all and sundry, throwing his head over his back with great vigour – and all of this effort when there was no female in sight! A pair of adult Mute Swans took great offence and aggressive postures when a small group of adolescents decided to fly in. Even the Greylags seemed to be pairing up.

'Get off my pond'

The Interlopers
At South Marsh East there were only three Lapwings to be seen, but the far bank of the lagoon was alive with the sound of croaking frogs. Although the days are now getting longer, I can’t help feeling that there is still plenty of time for winter weather to put a stop to that.

Round the corner, and on the way back to the reserve car park, there was a terrific clacking and chattering. I first thought there was a flock of Fieldfare in the trees, but it was soon clear that the ruckus was being caused by two squabbling male Great Spotted Woodpeckers, arguing over a potential mate who sat patiently in the next tree. Once they had cleared off they were replaced by a Mistle Thrush seeing a rival off the territory.

'She's mine!!!!!'
The rest of the day gave up some splendid and welcome sights – a couple of Treecreepers, Goldcrests, Long-Tailed Tits, Siskens, and Coal Tits in ‘D’ Woods, and an early sighting of a Short-Eared Owl and a ring-tailed Hen Harrier at the Hempholme end of the reserve.

Long-Tailed Tit

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