Well it was forecast - but wasn't quite expecting this much! On Wednesday the great highlight was a female long-tailed duck on the D reservoir - congrats to Frank Murray for that one. I didn't get to see it, but here is a library pic from North Norfolk of the last one I saw (male) a couple of years back:
Also mid week the six female smew were doing the rounds, along with the first goosander for some time on O res. Kingfisher sightings have dried up a bit with the weather turning, but lone whooper swans and pink-feet have both been seen.
Braving the weather I decided to get out and top up the feeders etc. yesterday - around 6" of snow at home one the wolds!:
Whilst trying to negotiate one of the hills a skein of around 200 geese were flying south - didn't get a proper look or hear of them, but have a potential for barnacles or pink-feet?:
We often get asked about the conditions on the road to Tophill - here is the access road at 11.00am yesterday - so make up your own mind!:
The trip was worth while however - great opportunity to see some of the mammal tracks round site - this fox was active:
But its visit to the rabbit 'cavern' on O res - which many of you will be familiar with - was not worth while as obviously the rabbits had not left the warren for at least 3 days.
The otter appeared active - this trail on the river used that morning:
Likewise these 'bounds' in the SMW ice smack of otter too:
However there is yet another mink at large - fresh tracks in the raft - the 4th or 5th this autumn - but not the weather for trapping at present:
Inspecting the river revealed that is where all the activity is - whilst on the bank this mute swan was picturesque:
A group of wigeon flew in then off:
Likewise this snipe:
This time of year is great for seeing more secretive species with the marshes frozen:
It's always worth checking any margin for water rails - however I wasn't expecting to flush one from six foot up a goat willow as I walked past on SMW!:
Likewise another woodcock flew from the path through South Scrub - and predictably the Wildlife Centre woodcock is now easy to find - far right corner of the meadow between pegs 4 and 5:
Predictably one of the handful of other people 'committed' (the right word?!) besides me to turn out yesterday was Tony - who was rewarded with a great buzzard image no doubt on his site soon...
Updates today are that I could not get in because of the weather, with a couple of our more local team making it in before escaping home with the snow coming down heavily again at 11am. However please note that fear of impalement will not be accepted as an excuse for not purchasing a permit...