First, just to let everyone know Jackie came out of hospital yesterday (Sunday) evening and now is at home convalescing. Jackie would like to just thank everyone who has sent cards and all the get well's and good wishes that she has received over the last week as it kept her positive and in good spirits. So thank you all.
With Jackie in hospital I led the Sunday monthly, group around RSPB Radipole Lake a location we haven't visited for some time. It was overcast and cool after the early morning frost but promised to be a bright sunny day which it certainly turned out to be.
We started searching through the gulls and waterfowl from the visitor centre in case the previous days Ring-billed Gull had returned, which it hadn't. But there was plenty to see with lots of Mediterranean Gulls, Herring, Black-headed, Common, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls with a small flock of Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Gadwall not a bad start. Just as we were about to move on all the gulls lifted off when a Sparrowhawk went whizzing through. We walked the main path to the first viewing platform hearing our first Bearded Tit, little was seen from this location other than a female Brown Rat that we watched scurry along the path and under the platform, which we were informed by Fran that it was a female for obvious reason.
|Brown Rat - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull|
Continuing on around to the buddleia loop where we checked off some of the more common species including a Great Spotted Woodpecker ,which we first heard calling off the reserve, but it then flew in and perched right above us give excellent views.
|Great Spotted Woodpecker - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull|
From the buddleia view point looking out over the north of the reserve we had our first views of Marsh Harrier with a stunning male quartering the northern area of the reserve. We added a couple more waterfowl with Shelduck and Pochard also several Water Rail were actively squealing around the reedbeds. A little further on we added Buzzard and we saw a female Bearded Tit briefly in bushes to the left of the path.
|Female Bearded Tit - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull|
Shortly after on reaching the concrete bridge we noticed a male bird on the top of some Reedmace looking stunning in the sunlight.
|Male Bearded Tit taking flight © Nick Hull|
From the North screen we had better views of the male Marsh Harrier and a little later picked up a female both disappeared into the reedbed. Close views of Little Egret and Grey Heron but it was even closer views of Bearded Tit and Kingfisher that stole the day here. Eventually we had to leave and whilst walking back over the concrete bridge what surfaced beside the bridge but the male Hooded Merganser, which has been around for a number of years considered an escape species but it is certainly a stunning duck.
|Drake Hooded Merganser - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull|
On our walk back we saw more of what had been already seen and we concluded with forty seven species in our two and a half hours on the reserve. The views of Bearded Tit and Kingfisher fishing certainly topped the day. The two Mediterranean Gull which were colour ringed I've sent off the information and await the bird history if any and will post results here later. Thanks to everyone for a very nice morning's birding.