Friday, 18 December 2009


Winter fell out of the sky through the night of Thursday 17th, carpeting Cudmore Grove with up to 10cms of snow by dawn on Friday 18th. The northerly wind blew the snow up against the side of the bird hide, resulting in this wintry port-hole view of the park pond pictured above.

Most of the pond was ice free and the ducks were able to splash about as normal with the 50+ mallard the main species along with 16 gadwall, 8 shoveler anda few teal. At the edge of the pond beside the grazing field 2 snipe were aout feeding with several moorhens.

Not many visitors to the car park today except for a handful of hardy dog-walkers. Although the sun came out in the middle of the day, there was only a slight thaw. By the end of the day most of the snow remained and was freezing solid as night-fell underthe clear sky. The only birds seen in the car park area were a few blackbirds feeding on the cotoneaster berries.

No snow buntings could be found on the beach at the Point although the ten reed buntings and 4 rock pipits were seen as usual along with more skylarks than normal. A flock of 20 flew onto the grazing fields, 10 were flying around the saltmarsh while another 4 birds flew south over the Point and straight out to sea.

As the tide came in around the Point, 15 species of wader in 1o minutes were noted, which is probably the highest tally in one "stint" for this site. The selection included curlew, oystercatcher, avocet, black-tailed godwit, bar-tailed godwit, redshank, lapwing, grey plover, golden plover, ringed plover, knot, dunlin, sanderling, turnstone and snipe. Notable counts included 70 avocets, 700 golden plover, 500 knot, 4 sanderling and a couple of snipe that flew off the saltmarsh.
At least 10 red-breasted mergansers were seen in the river, along with one great crested grebe and a common seal.

The flock of 300 wigeon were still trying to graze in one corner of the fields, despite the thick covering of snow. Also in the fields were 30 black-tailed godwits, lapwing, golden plover, 12 snipe, curlew and a few skylarks, meadow pipits, goldfinches and starlings.

The wintering pair of stonechats were still present but were avoiding their usual fence and ditchlines because of the snow and instead fed low down amongst the reeds along the water's edge of the dyke. Several little egrets flew around looking for somewhere to roost during the high tide, their white plumage helping them blend into the white surroundings.

Much of the snow stayed on the sides of the trees and posts throughout the day, freezing quickly up at the end of the day after sunset.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful winter landscape. Nice pictures! Jan

Dougal Urquhart said...

For a change the snow has stayed around longer than just one day this time! It all looks very picturesque.
Happy Xmas Jan

Unknown said...

my weekly treat is looking at the pics on your website - thanks - sylvia

Dougal Urquhart said...

Glad you like the photos, it's been as nice in real life as conveyed in the photos!