I didn't have a lot of time on the patch this weekend... I had other commitments and a stinking cold! I fed the swans of course and quickly checked to see if Friday's geese were still about, which they weren't, but that was it. Friday's geese were in fact a family party of five Eurasian Whitefronts that I found at Ditchmoor - the wet meadows behind the western reedbed. Whitefronts were once virtually annual visitors to the swannery but have dropped off a bit in recent years so are always a delight to see.
|Eurasian White-fronted Geese.. two adults left and three juvs.|
On Thursday I popped down The Fleet to Lynch Cove to check on the swans and during my coffee break managed to connect with the Hume's Leaf Warbler that was frequenting the scrub at the SE edge of the adjacent Littlesea Holiday Park. I had a probable in, what was then, my parents garden on the nearby Littlesea Estate some years ago but unlike todays bird it never gave the distinctive disyllabic call (I didn't hear it call at all) and in those days it was still considered a race of Yellow-browed Warbler so although it was rather a plain individual I only claimed it as the latter. It was nice therefore to legitimately add it to my Fleet list (it would have been even nicer if it had been in the swannery withybed)!
Meanwhile back at the swannery the middle of the week was rather quiet. At least one Bullfinch was still around and a flyover Yellowhammer was (now unfortunately) a noteworthy record. Good numbers of Goldcrests, a few Chiffchaffs and several Linnets were still present, the latter with the Greenfinch flock on the beach opposite (they're normally scarce here in the winter months). A flock of forty Snipe were seen in the air where they are far more visible than on the ground, as last weeks WeBS count results testify and a Golden Plover was heard. Mediterranean Gulls peaked at three and there was still only the one Scaup, though several Red-breasted Mergansers have now appeared.
|Female or 1st winter Red-breasted Merganser.|
|1st winter Mediterranean Gull.|
The best record of the week though was on Monday...While scanning the swannery embayment from Helen Hide I heard the distinctive call of a Snow Bunting. It appeared to be coming from the adjacent beach but despite scanning I failed to pick it up. Luckily I had better results earlier in the month...You wait nearly twenty-three years and two turn up within a few weeks!