Friday 28th February Visit

So, there I was waiting at the containers, having heard a drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker in the wood and a beautiful singing Song Thrush above Silt Lagoon 4 on the way in, when I realised no-one else was there for Volunteer Friday. Michael in the office confirmed that volunteering had been cancelled for the day so it left me free for a morning's birdwatching and photography on site. A large group of 40 plus Shovelor were first to take flight from Phase 2 with a large supporting cast of Teal, Wigeon and Tufted Duck. The ubiquitous Coot were less worried and just moved away as I walked around towards Silt Lagoon 7 where a smart female first winter Smew provided a distant but unmistakeable ID on my camera. I will soon load today's photos onto the sitein the photos section. On my way around Silt Lagoon 7 I disturbed about 6 Snipe with another later on Phase 1. I decided not to go all round Phase 1 but cut across the boardwalk now all the chickenwire has been completed - a herculean and at times very cold and wet task. A very smart pair of Great-crested Grebes distracted me from Id-ing my stretches of chickenwire where thumbs had been hammered and fingers impaled by staples! Having photographed the Grebes I took a shot of the boardwalk and new finger post at the end. In the scrub area a host of small birds greeted me, initially a flock of Goldfinch feeding on Teasels swiftly followed by 4 very smart Bullfinch, see photo. Many Blue, Great and a single Coal Tit were at the feeder station near the screen with Gold, Green and Chaffinch. AS I left the currently closed part of the site and onto the boundary path, a Robin posed for a photo on the barbed wire of the new internal boundary fence. Silt Lagoon 6 provide now 4 Shelduck with Mute Swans and Tufted Ducks whilst a small flock of 5 Long-tailed Tits darted along the willow fringe in front of the reedbed. On Silt lagoon 3 a male Goldeneye was diving frequently but gave me some good photos including an unusual beak on view displaying both white cheek spots at the same time. I decided to stop at the exit gate onto Cottage Lane where a large flock of 45 Fieldfares were chuntering away in the treetops. I spent quite a time there scanning the willows for the Little Owl when I finally found it in the third willow.