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Bittell Reservoirs and Hopwood area

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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 20:48   #1176
keithr
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Originally Posted by Rob_S View Post
Spent an hour this afternoon trawling though the geese on Upper Bittell, trying to find the single Brent and Pink-foot reported on Friday. Large mixed flock, feeding amongst the vegetation opposite the northern end of the Sailing Club, so some way from the dam, and the vegetation is taller than the geese, so not an easy task and I didn't find either. Just Greylags and Canadas.

The fields beyond the pools on the drive down to the Sailing Club were busy with 20+ Fieldfare and 30+ Redwing. Large roaming flock of Goldfinches too, 30+ birds, but I didn't pick up anything else amongst them.
Sparrowhawk around the Sailing Club.

Good numbers of Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon on Upper. Markedly less large gulls than last time I visited.
When I saw the Geese last week they were in the field behind the pools...
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 12:01   #1177
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Originally Posted by Rob_S View Post
Spent an hour this afternoon trawling though the geese on Upper Bittell, trying to find the single Brent and Pink-foot reported on Friday. Large mixed flock, feeding amongst the vegetation opposite the northern end of the Sailing Club, so some way from the dam, and the vegetation is taller than the geese, so not an easy task and I didn't find either. Just Greylags and Canadas.

The fields beyond the pools on the drive down to the Sailing Club were busy with 20+ Fieldfare and 30+ Redwing. Large roaming flock of Goldfinches too, 30+ birds, but I didn't pick up anything else amongst them.
Sparrowhawk around the Sailing Club.

Good numbers of Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon on Upper. Markedly less large gulls than last time I visited.
Hi Rob, both birds still present yesterday. Brent can be difficult as its so small compared to the rest of the Geese, so is easily hidden, especially in the long grass. The Pink-Foot often disappears with the Greylags into the fields behind the Res, so may explain why you missed it. It might be worth checking late afternoon when they all come onto the water.
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 08:34   #1178
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Thanks Keith - I went around the back at one point to see if I could find a better viewpoint. No geese in the fields.

Josh - thanks for the suggestions. I was at Upper for nearly 2 hours, from the bright mid-afternoon sunshine to the very cloudy gloom which descended as it got dark. Unfortunately there were never more than about 30 geese on the water at any one time, obviously good feeding amongst that long grass.

Hopefully they'll stick around until next weekend.
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Old Sunday 3rd February 2019, 16:56   #1179
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Mill Shrub being drained and totally frozen but lots of Herons and a Little Egret trying to find some open water.
The Egret tried down in the canal at the side a few times and eventually flew over to Lower where a small area of open water beckoned but when I left it was still flying around the edges.
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Old Sunday 3rd February 2019, 17:55   #1180
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Nice to see 3 Common Gulls on the ice this morning on Upper, a species that is far from common here. Also the 2 usual YLG, good numbers of wildfowl including over 30 Pochard, and a fly through Peregrine. The female Pintail found itself a small section of open water on Lower, whilst a Green Sandpiper at the northern end of Mill Shrub was my first in over a year, considering last years conditions.
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Old Tuesday 19th February 2019, 15:19   #1181
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Nothing unexpected around late this morning. 3 Buzzards, small mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare, a few Wigeon and Teal on Upper, Little Egret on Mill Shrub.

Most interesting bird was a confusing-looking Tufted Duck(?) diving repeatedly between the two buoys off the dam. Prominent white nasal blaze, but a dark bird so more what I'd expect a drake to look like. Streaked grey/white plumage on its wings.

There was a group of Tufted Ducks nearby but it wasn't associating with them. Feeding furiously, repeated dives of around the length you'd expect from a Tufted Duck, maybe slightly longer. Only on the surface for a couple of seconds before diving again.

This was around 11.30am. I popped back again after I'd done the walk to Lower but I couldn't relocate this bird. No other birders around when I was first there, sadly.
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Old Wednesday 13th March 2019, 15:23   #1182
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Spent an hour at Upper Bittell at midday today with the following species seen-

In terms of wildfowl, there was 8 Mute Swan, 154 Canada Goose, 64 Greylag Goose, 7 Mallard, 5 Gadwall, 4 Shoveler, 8 Teal, 30 Wigeon and 10 Tufted Duck.

Other water birds included 1 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, 76 Coot, 3 Moorhen, 1 Grey Heron and 5 Cormorant.

Gulls were present in large numbers with 236 Black-Headed Gull, 17 Herring Gull and 145 Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

At the back of the water, 94 Woodpigeon, 54 Jackdaw and 18 Carrion Crow fed in the grassland.

Also of note was 7 Redwing and 1 Song Thrush by the path up to the reservoir.

Chris
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 20:28   #1183
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Most interesting bird was a confusing-looking Tufted Duck(?) diving repeatedly between the two buoys off the dam. Prominent white nasal blaze, but a dark bird so more what I'd expect a drake to look like. Streaked grey/white plumage on its wings.

There was a group of Tufted Ducks nearby but it wasn't associating with them. Feeding furiously, repeated dives of around the length you'd expect from a Tufted Duck, maybe slightly longer. Only on the surface for a couple of seconds before diving again.
Looking at the photos of the Ring-Necked Duck at Westwood Pool, and then looking at more RND photos online. I've never seen a Ring-Necked Duck before, and I was on my own and the bird was so far out that I didn't bother taking photos as I only had my phone with me, but I did get decent scope views over a period of about 30 minutes.

This is pretty much exactly what I was looking at:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4917/...b6a9a3aba3.jpgRing-necked Duck male by Lois McNaught, on Flickr

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...llaris-001.jpg

Last edited by Rob_S : Thursday 14th March 2019 at 20:35.
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 21:58   #1184
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Looking at the photos of the Ring-Necked Duck at Westwood Pool, and then looking at more RND photos online. I've never seen a Ring-Necked Duck before, and I was on my own and the bird was so far out that I didn't bother taking photos as I only had my phone with me, but I did get decent scope views over a period of about 30 minutes.

This is pretty much exactly what I was looking at:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4917/...b6a9a3aba3.jpgRing-necked Duck male by Lois McNaught, on Flickr

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...llaris-001.jpg
Moral of the story.... always try to get a record shot if unsure of ID! Shame it couldn't be confirmed at the time, may have to go down as the one that got away.
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 22:27   #1185
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Moral of the story.... always try to get a record shot if unsure of ID! Shame it couldn't be confirmed at the time, may have to go down as the one that got away.
I would have if I could have, believe me. The duck was on the surface only briefly each time and I was having to watch for it resurfacing, then get the scope on it as quickly as I could before it dived again. As you say, one that got away, but at least I'll be aware that I need to consider Ring-Necked Duck as a possiblity next time.
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