Monday, 18 January 2010

17/01/2010 - Great Duck Hunt 2010

The Bedfordshire Bird Club organised a wildfowl count again this year. The aim is to get someone out to every lake and river in the county to obtain a snapshot of the wildfowl in the county. This year it was on Sunday 17th January which tied in with the BTO Wetland Bird Survey for January. Along with my WeBS site (Box End Park [BEP]) I volunteered to count at Biddenham Loop Country Park [BLCP].

The count followed on from a prolonged cold spell but the thaw had set in and recent heavy rain had increased the levels of the lake at BEP and the river at both sites. Having said that the lake was still about 5% ice covered.

I arrived at BEP around first light to find the spit on the south lake almost under water and the expected Lapwing roost nowhere to be seen. Counts were disappointing with no waders at all, highlight was a Little Grebe on the river:

Coot 2
Cormorant 13
Grey Heron 1
Little Grebe 1
Mallard 43
Moorhen 2
Mute Swan 4
Black-headed Gull 34
Common Gull 1

Other species of interest:

Meadow Pipit 5
Sparrowhawk 1

I moved on to BLCP, starting at Bromham bridge and following the river (Great Ouse) down stream. The extra water from the melted snow and recent rain had forced the river level up to the top of the banks and again counts were disappointing, highlights were a single Little Grebe and a Kingfisher.

Moorhen 4
Grey Heron 2
Kingfisher 1
Mallard 20
Little Grebe 1

The Mallards were on the Pond in the cow field that runs along the length of the park.

Highlight of the morning was this Kestrel at BLCP which hung about long enough for a photo op: