BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

March 2009 News

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2009

Sunday 1st March

Adult drake & (probable 1st-winter) female Greater Scaup Aythya marila and drake Aythya hybrid (that looked very close to a Scaup) and 2 Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus.

Tuesday 3rd March

I saw lots of Common Toads Bufo bufo migrating on the roads this evening, especially around Ubley.

Wednesday 4th March

There were several Greater Scaup Aythya marila at the lake today. I saw 3 each of drakes and ducks at the dam end, one of which was probably the Aythya hybrid, first thing this morning. There was a report of a drake and 2 duck Scaup in Holt Bay (per the RBA pager service) later in the day and I guess these were new birds that I saw with the 3 resident birds earlier.

Thursday 5th March

2 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, an adult drake and (probable 1st-winter) duck, plus the drake Aythya hybrid.

Friday 6th March

3 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, an adult drake and 2 ducks, plus the drake Aythya hybrid present today. There are also at least 5 Mute Swans Cygnus olor at the lake.

Saturday 7th March

There were a pair of Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus in our Blagdon garden on the sunflower heart feeders.

Down at the lake I saw 59 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, 3 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, the drake Aythya hybrid, 6 Mute Swan Cygnus olor, 22 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, 62 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, 11 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca, 5 (3 drakes) Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis, a single Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus at Hellfire Corner, 38 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata and an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis at Top End.

Colt's-foot Tussilago farfara was flowering at Hellfire Corner where a bridge over a ditch has been recently repaired. I suspect the plant was introduced. Rain fell again for the first time since the 3rd and many more Common Toads Bufo bufo got on with migration back to the lake in the evening.

Sunday 8th March [Westerly gale with sleet & snow]

3 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, the adult drake and 2 ducks, plus the drake Aythya hybrid were still present as were 45 Canada Geese Branta canadensis.

2 male Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla visited the garden feeders.

Monday 9th March

The usual 3 Greater Scaup Aythya marila and Aythya hybrid were off the dam and there was a female Goosander Mergus merganser in Butcombe Bay.

Wednesday 11th March

2 male and a female Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla were on the garden feeders today.

Friday 13th March

The usual 3 Greater Scaup Aythya marila and Aythya hybrid were off the dam and the female Goosander Mergus merganser was still in Butcombe Bay. There were 3 Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus, 2 adults and a 1st-winter, as well as over 250 Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus, 4 drake Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis at the dam end and a pair of Stock Doves Columba oenas in the Long Bay pines. Further along I counted 34 Canada Geese Branta canadensis in a feeding flock plus a separate pair at Top End furtively seeking somewhere to nest. A Barn Owl Tyto alba poked its head out of the Top End box at 1605 hrs.

Sweet Violet Viola odorata was flowering, but most species appear to be about 2 weeks later this year than last.

Saturday 14th March

WeBS Count Day and among the more notable birds we recorded were 7 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, 3 drakes and 4 ducks, plus the drake Aythya hybrid, a pair of Goosander Mergus merganser plus a fly-through Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna. Lucy Delve counted 5 Common Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita.

A single male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla visited the garden feeders.

Sunday 15th March

Ill in bed today, but I noted a pair of Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus and the male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla in the garden.

Monday 16th March [Sunny & warm]

A male Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus came to the garden feeders.

Tuesday 17th March [Sunny & warm]

A male and 2 female Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus came to the feeders along with a male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla. I also spotted a first batch of frogspawn in the garden pond outside the bedroom window.

Wednesday 18th March [Sunny & warm]

A second batch of frogspawn has been laid in the gaden pond overnight and I saw a male and 2 females of Common Frog Rana temporaria.

Thursday 19th March [Sunny & warm]

I did quite a lot of counting today and noted 272 Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus, 50 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, 43 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, 39 Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, 18 Herring Gulls Larus argentatus, 17 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, 12 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca, 9 Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita, 5 Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, 5 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 5 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea, 4 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, 2 Redwings Turdus iliacus, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus and a pair of Goosander Mergus merganser in Butcombe Bay. Among other sightings was a Northern Raven Corvus corax flying south over Top End, a dead Common Buzzard Buteo buteo at Bell's Bush, a drake Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis, a pair of Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus building a nest at Lodge Copse and a Peregrine Falco peregrinus carryng a pigeon sp. at the Pumping Station. The intriguing question for me is where are the Peregrines nesting?

I counted 42 Rook Corvus frugilegus nests at Home Bay Point and 11 more at Hellfire Corner. There were 2 Small Tortoiseshells Aglais urticae, one each at Home Bay and Station Road. Cuckooflower / Lady's Smock Cardamine pratensis, False Oxlip Primula veris x vulgaris and Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa are all in flower at Top End.

A third batch of frogspawn was laid in the garden pond today and there are still 3 Common Frogs Rana temporaria present as well as the female Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla coming to the feeders.

Friday 20th March

The 3 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, a drake and 2 ducks, and the Aythya hybrid were feeding off The Island and there were 411 Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus and 50 Herring Gulls Larus argentatus off the dam.

We had a male and female Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla on the garden feeders.

Saturday 21st March

One of the Greater Scaup Aythya marila ducks was missing today, with just a pair and the drake Aythya hybrid present. Gull numbers had dipped slightly to 244 Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus, 44 Herring Gulls Larus argentatus and 3 Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus. There were 2 pairs of Gadwall Anas strepera at the lake.

2 male Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla visited the garden feeders today.

Sunday 22nd March [Sunny]

There were a pair of Greater Scaup Aythya marila, 2 adult Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus, a drake Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis at Burmah Road and a male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla singing at the Inspection House.

Monday 23rd March [Gale force westerly wind]

It was the start of the fishing season today and I saw a Snipe Gallinago gallinago at Top End, a drake Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis at Hellfire Corner and a pair of Coots Fulica atra building a nest platform in Holt Bay.

The garden feeders attracted a female Brambling Fringilla montifringilla and a male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla.

Tuesday 24th March [Sunny with a cold wind]

I noted 17 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope and the drake Aythya hybrid today.

Thursday 26th March

We were down to 13 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope on the dam today.

2 Common Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita were singing at Somerdale, Keynsham.

Friday 27th March

There were 8 Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica and 2 House Martins Delichon urbicum over the dam this morning and I saw the drake Aythya hybrid also. Later, I saw a Barn Owl Tyto alba hunting over Priddy Mineries up on the Mendips.

Saturday 28th March

I visited the Somerset Levels and saw a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus at Shapwick NNR, a drake Garganey Anas querquedula and 10+ Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at Meare Heath and heard a Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris booming at Ham Wall RSPB.

Sunday 29th March

There were 6 Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis, 3 drakes, at The Lodge and just 4 Canada Geese Branta canadensis.

Monday 30th March

I saw the drake Aythya hybrid, 49 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, approx 50 Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica and 30 House Martins Delichon urbicum.