|Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus with Shoveler Anas clypeata
Wednesday 23 March
Leaving our overnight accommodation near Uppingham at 8.30 to drive over to Langtoft in Lincolnshire, we had a roosting Buzzard as soon as we entered nearby Stamford Road followed almost immediately by a pair of Kestrels atop an electricity pylon. With Jenny safely delivered to her friend's home, I had about three house for some local birding so started at nearby Deeping Lakes. t was a beautiful, clam and sunny morning with clear blue skis so able to bird without the need for any additional clothing Extra coats that is, not in the nude!).
Stopping at the first observation platform as I entered the reserve I soon had sight of at least twenty species on the opening pool. Having already recorded Kestrel, Collared Dove, Pheasant and Rook as I approached he site I immediately noticed the large flock of Black-headed Gulls and a small number of Mute Swans. Whilst checking both Lapwing and Coot a Carrion Crow flew across the water before concentrating on the mixed grouping of ducks including Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Tufted Ducks. Not just Greylag and Canada but also a couple of Egyptian Geese on the water plus a few resting Cormorants. A while before I eventually found the first Moorhen and then a pair of Great Crested Grebes at the back plus a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
|Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus
Eventually reaching the car park I encountered both Great Tit and Wood Pigeon and a single Little Grebe was on the small pool to my left. First up the river embankment where I found another dozen Mute Swans on the water along with a handful of Mallards and a single Little Egret. Back down to the track and onwards to the woods. More of the same on the next pool but I did see the single Goldfinch. The main lake had many more Black-headed Gulls plus plenty of both Wigeon and Tufted Ducks. Obviously the nesting colony for a number of Cormorants as can be seen by the accompanying photograph. However, it did produce a pair of Pochard.
|The active Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo breeding colony
|Strangers at the colony!
Making my way along the waterside path at least two Cetti's Warblers and a couple of Long-tailed plus Blue Tits. Robins were regularly heard and seen and then, at last, a Blackbird. As I continued I enjoyed the "yaffling" of a nearby Green Woodpecker and picked out the first of two Herons sheltering on the far bank. By the time I was through the small wood I could also hear hammering Great Spotted Woodpecker plus the occasional call and then, back on the river embankment, more Mallards and a single Little Egret. Just before returning to the car park I noticed that with the three Greylag there was another Egyptian Goose. Finally, siting in the car, I picked out the half-dozen Jackdaws feeding on the grass a short distance away in front of me.
|Distant Heron Ardea cinerea
With time in hand I decided to make a first visit to nearby Maxey Gravel Pits. Only a very short stay which enabled me to walk down the bridle track separating two waters tot he present commercial workings. As I approached both Greenfinches and a male Reed Bunting took off from the small tree next to the entrance gate and the first, more recently worked out, pool to my right produced both Coot and Tufted Duck along with Black-headed Gulls. A single Little Egret was at the far end and on a sandy beach near to me a pair of forging Redshank.
|Redshanks Tringa totanus
The larger pool to my left with more vegetation in and around the edges held both Mallard and Moorhen with Coots and Mute Swans out on the open water. Carrion Crows, Magpies and Wood Pigeons were active and returning to the entrance area I picked up the Lesser Back-backed Gulls on the first lake and both Great and Blue Tits near the entrance. Just outside the site both a male Pheasant and a trio of Rooks were noted along with a single male Chaffinch.
|Lovely carpet of Primroses Primula vulgaris
And so on to Baston Fen in search of the recently arrived "special." Very many Wigeon and a healthy supply of Tufted Duck to add to both Mallard and Shoveler. A dozen or more Mute Swans and a similar number of Lapwing. Just the four Great Crested Grebes seen along with a number of Coot and, of course, a very healthy supply of Black-headed along with a handful of Herring Gulls. On the other hand, this seems to be a popular site for resting/staying Greylag Geese but no Canada Geese to be found. A regular fly-over by both Carrion Crow and Magpies and even a feeding flock of Rooks on a neighbouring field. It was whilst double-checking for the "special" species that I found the Gadwall and, almost in front of me, a pair of late Whooper Swans drifted into view. What a way to end the morning before collecting Jenny and making a start on the long journey back to Warsash.
|Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnu
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.
|No shortage of either Greylag Anser anser or Canada Geese Branta canadensis on site but these two seemed to have paired up and could they produce a Greyada or Canlag Goose? If so, might carry the scientific name of Anser branta ridicularius
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