Thursday, 24 November 2011

November WeBS counts

This Sunday, 20th November, was the monthly BTO WeBS count day, and I duly arrived at Rodley Nature Reserve at 07:45. It’s been a mild month, but the reserve thermometer read 4C, and the fog was very, very thick (just like last November).

Still, we managed to pick out some goodies, including a new reserve record of 64 Gadwall, with 58 on the main lagoon (Stop press: now up to 72 by 23rd November). The annual winter Linnet flock must total 300 at the moment, though it breaks up occasionally and is very mobile, making it difficult to count. Up to a couple of hundred were in the trees near the manager’s garden at one point, and the clamorous twittering sounded very evocative on a misty November morning.

58 Gadwall are on that water, somewhere – Rodley NR, 20th November 2011

Other highlights were three Snipe on the duck marsh, a lovely male Goosander on the Lagoon, a Willow Tit by the visitor centre, six Siskin near the car park, and a few sightings of Roe Deer, and some very red Blushing Bracket Fungus.

Blushing Bracket (Daedaleopsis confragosa) – Rodley NR, 20th November 2011

Later, I spent the afternoon with my children in a misty Northcliffe Woods. Plenty of Nuthatch about, and Wood Pigeon, Jay and Carrion Crow. Not much else, despite my kids keeping a diligent lookout.

Northcliffe Woods, Bradford – 20th November 2011

Unfortunately, I couldn’t do my other WeBS count, on a section of the River Aire where I work, until Tuesday – a day later than usual. The WeBS species seen were: 62 Mallard (35 males; 27 females). 2 Kingfisher (good to see numbers holding steady), 2 Goosander (female/imm), 5 Moorhen, and 65 Black-headed Gull. No Dipper, unfortunately. My friend surveys the section immediately upstream, and he had three Dipper the day before.

The other highlights were 18 Pied Wagtail on the house roof opposite Dowley Gap sewage works, with at least another 10 on the filter beds; circa 20 Siskin in beach tree near the Bradford Rowing Club; 2 calling Great Spotted Woodpecker; plus Nuthatch, Treecreeper, and around ten Goldfinch.

The most productive area was in (and under) just one London Plane tree between the bowling green and river at Salts Sports, Saltaire. In this tree were: 10 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Mistle Thrush, 6 Blackbird, 1 Jay, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Treecreeper, 4 Wood Pigeon, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Robin, plus a mixed Tit flock of Long-tailed, Great, Blue and Coal Tit. There may have been more, but I just couldn't keep up with them all…

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