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Hill Hook Nature Reserve (1 Viewer)

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
This afternoon uncovered aTufted Duck brood with 3+ young, the pair of Mute Swan with now 4 cygnets, many Mallard families, 3 broods of Coot (1 fledged bird, a family of 3 half grown chicks and a brood of 1+ small chicks) plus Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher.

Very little change today; the only alterations were the discovery of a Moorhen brood with at least one half-grown chick but the reduction of the cygnets to three overnight with one floating dead in the water.
 

Steve Sutton

Well-known member
Saturday morning visit, had good range of butterflies inc Peacock,Meadow Brown,Tortoiseshell,comma,lots of gatekeeper, Large and small Whites,Large skipper and my first Essex skipper for this site , female common Darter and Brown Hawker, birds included Nuthatch, chiffchaff,Blackcap, at least 2 Buzzards
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Very little change today; the only alterations were the discovery of a Moorhen brood with at least one half-grown chick but the reduction of the cygnets to three overnight with one floating dead in the water.

When I last visited around a fortnight ago there were still four cygnets so it must have been a fifth cygnet that I saw dead. Need to check how the Tufted Duck-lings are progressing.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
An early evening visit today produced Kingfisher, a few young Coot still yet to fledge, a couple of fledged Tufted Duck with c10 adults, 4 Mute Swan cygnets continuing to grow well and most pleasingly, a pair of Little Grebe with two young. These young, although well developed, looked too small to have been raised at another site and flown in to Hill Hook.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
A quick jaunt with the family yesterday produced 3+ Little Grebe, Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail over, a few lingering Chiffchaff and bountiful Siskin in the tree tops
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Patch Gold

Well actually Patch Orange - a Brambling wheezed high up in the trees just north of the Mill Pool. Will try to have an early morning wander over the weekend to see if one is lurking in the leaf litter.

Also present today were increasing numbers of Goldcrest, Redpoll and Siskin in the woods, the usual Nuthatches and 2 Grey Wagtail of the pool weir. The pool itself held the now fully grown family of 4 Little Grebes, Kingfisher, 6 Canada Geese and a few Tufties. The Mute Swam family appear to have moved on.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
The Mill Pool on Monday held 3 Goosander (all drakes), 15+ Tufted Duck, 6 Moorhen and 1 LBBG. Also noted were Grey Wagtail, a party of a dozen Pied Wagtail on their way to roost and c100 Jackdaws flying NE
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Felt more like late March than early January - plenty of birds singing with very few winter thrushes, no Siskin or Redpoll and the Mill Pond devoid of Goosander. It was therefore surprising that the pool did have one of the highest Tufted Duck counts I have noted there with 27 present. Also sighted were 2 Mute Swan, 2 Canada Geese, 1 LBB Gull and most pleasingly, a Little Grebe. Coot numbers were also very low and were outnumbered by Moorhen.

The woods held Treecreeper, GS Woodpecker, 2 Jay, good numbers of Coal Tit and Goldcrest and plenty of Bullfinch; a flock of 40 Jackdaw flea over approaching dusk.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
A visit late afternoon yesterday again encountered no Goosander. Present were a pair of Mute Swan, a lone Canada Goose, 2 Little Grebe, approx a dozen Coot (including several pairs already displaying), 12 Tufted Duck and at least 11 Moorhen (the most I have seen at this site).

The woods were quiet other than a GS Woodpecker and a flock of c20 Redwing.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Late morning the Mill Pool held 2 Mute Swan, 2 Canada Geese, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant, 1+ Little Grebe, 13 Tufted Duck (7m,6f) and 2 LBB Gull.

A lot more activity in the woods with a drumming G'S Woodpecker, 6+ singing Goldcrest, 100+ Goldfinch and more Siskin and Redpoll than of late.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Little news to post over the last few months. A pair of Little Grebe were present throughout the spring and summer but no signs of breeding noted. As usual the Mallards had a productive breeding season whilst there were probably three successful pairs of both Coot and Moorhen. Decent numbers of Tufted Duck were seen throughout the summer but no ducklings seen; the regular presence of LBB Gull have had something to do that! Yet again the Mute Swans bred, raising three cygnets.

Both Blackcap and Willow Warbler were present throughout the summer whilst Chiffchaff were plentiful well into October. Grey Heron, Kingfisher and Cormorant were occasionally present at the Mill Pond. The woods held the usual mix of Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Coal Tit and GS Woodpecker with an obvious influx of Goldcrest in late October; the last few weeks have seen Siskin, Redpoll, Redwing and Fieldfare moving through.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
A visit on Saturday morning noted 12 Tufted Duck on the Mill Pool together with the first Goosander of the winter (a male and female). There were also about a dozen Coot and at least five Moorhen though the swans and geese were absent. The usual Grey Wagtail fed around the outflow. A minimum of three and more likely four Little Grebe were present.

The woods held the usual Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, GS Woodpecker and Nuthatch whilst both Jay and Green Woodpecker (a site tick) were heard. A Ring-necked Parakeet was heard from Blake Street station; a probable was heard calling from the reserve itself whilst driving along Hill Hook Road a fortnight ago.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Hot on the heels of last week's patch tick of Green Woodpecker, two visits this weekend produced not one but two further ticks!

A cronking party of four Raven passed over the reserve late morning today with a further bird flew over early afternoon whilst a second look at the Mill Pond produced two pristine male Gadwall.

Also present on the Mill Pond were 3 Mute Swan (two adults and one of this summer's young), 1 LBB Gull, 1 Cormorant, 15 Tufted Duck, a male Goosander, 3+ Little Grebe, 8+ Moorhen and c12 Coot with the usual Grey Wagtail around the outflow.

The woods held GS Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Siskin.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Typically an early morning visit armed with my camera produced no sign of the Gadwall. Present on the Mill Pond ere 3 Mute Swan, 1 Cormorant, 2 LBB Gull, 20 Tufted Duck, 10 Moorhen and 4 Little Grebe (I believe both the latter counts are personal site records). Several Siskin and Redpoll were in the poolside trees and a Grey Wagtail was again on the outflow.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Back to normal fare on this morning's visit with 4 Goosander on the Mill Pool (3 males and a female) plus 3 Mute Swan (2 adults and a juvenile), 2 adult LBB Gull and 2+ Little Grebe. A Grey Wagtail was again at the outflow with another on the stream at the southern end of the reserve.

The woods were fairly quiet with Jay, an infrequent sighting, being the headline bird. Also an influx of Bullfinch with ancillary Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Goldcrest.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Three visits over the festive period produced very little of note.

The Mill Pool held no Goosander on any of the visits. Tufted Duck numbers were constant at around 15 birds whilst there were no more than a dozen Coot and 6 Moorhen. Two Little Grebe look like they are resident; I am not sure how much longer the pair of Mute Swan will tolerate the final lingering youngster from last year. No Canada Geese were present in daylight hours but the pair of LBB Gull were a constant feature.

The woods held the usual fare of GS Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Nuthatch with the latter being particularly visible. Small numbers of Redpoll and Siskin were active in the trees tops whilst limited numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare were also present. A Great Tit giving a wide variety of unusual calls nm face me a heart stopping moment, as did a strongly marked Buzzard. Two Grey Wagtails roamed the length of the brook and a large female Sparrowhawk caused panic with several sorties weaving between the trees.

There are some fairly major works to reshape the northern section of the reserve currently being undertaken (see attached notice below). They look fairly brutal at present but I am sure Nature will restore itself.
 

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Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
A long awaited new patch tick yesterday - after several possible sightings / hearings - in the form of Ring-necked Parakeet.
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
This afternoon I had my first proper views of a Ring-necked Parakeet which spent about ten minutes vocally moving around the poolside trees pursued by Magpies and Jackdaws before flying towards Clarence Road. A Little Egret roosted on the island of the Mill Pool late afternoon.

Other fare included 12 Tufted Duck, 6 Moorhen, 2 Little Grebe and 5 Mute Swan (2 adults and surprisingly still 3 of last year's juveniles) but no Goosander - have only see them once this winter. The woods held the usual Nuthatch, Coal Tit and GS Woodpecker.
 
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