WEDNESDAY 3 DECEMBER
Yesterday's strong NE wind abated somewhat to leave calmer conditions with a ridge of high pressure giving clear blue skies and wintry sunshine and temperatures just above 10 degrees C
I had counted 12 LITTLE EGRET going in to roost at STANBOROUGH NORTH LAKE last night, with KINGFISHER, Great Crested Grebe, 26 Sinensis Cormorant, 6 Grey Heron, 158 Jackdaw and Goldcrest also.
This morning, I decided to census the COLNE VALLEY PITS, starting in the south at DENHAM GOLF COURSE POND, where 1 Little Grebe, 7 Tufted Duck and 1 Pochard were present. Nearby, the DENHAM COURT DRIVE GP added 10 Tufted Duck and 16 Coot.
TROY MILL PIT was full of waterbirds - most impressive being the number of COOT - 450 in fact. Other species counted included 7 Great Crested Grebe, 15 Mute Swan, 85 Gadwall, 80 Wigeon, 132 Tufted Duck and Grey Heron, while a COMMON KINGFISHER was fishing the stream adjacent. Over 100 Black-headed Gulls were resting, along with single Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, whilst peripheral species included 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Wren, 8 Common Blackbird, Goldcrest, Red Kite and a wintering COMMON CHIFFCHAFF. The NORTH TROY PIT added a further 52 Coot and 18 Tufted Duck.
The GRAND UNION CANAL adjacent in the vicinity of the BLACK JACKS MILL WEIR added 8 Coot, several Moorhen, 1 Mute Swan and 22 Mallard, with 10 Chaffinch and 12 Goldfinch in the gardens, Red Kite and Common Buzzard overhead and 4 Ring-necked Parakeets in the trees.
At the back of BROADWATER SAILING LAKE, at least 9 COMMON CHIFFCHAFF, Goldcrest, 2 Long-tailed Tits, Ring-necked Parakeet and Goldcrest were noted, with the LAKE itself yielding 11 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Egyptian Geese, 32 Pochard, 97 Tufted Duck, 112 Coot and a Grey Wagtail.
No less than 108 Fan-tailed Doves were sunning themselves on the roof of CORNER HALL - the largest number I have ever seen in this country.
LYNSTERS PIT held 42 Canada Geese, 20 Gadwall, 185 Tufted Duck, 24 Pochard and 36 Coot, with LYNSTERS FIELD a further 30 Canada Geese, 36 Greylag Geese, 2 Egyptian Geese, 44 Stock Dove, 60 Woodpigeon and 2 Long-tailed Tit.
SPRINGWELL LAKE came up with 4 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swan, Grey Heron, 34 Tufted Duck, 8 Pochard, 10 Gadwall and 80 Coot, while next door INNS LAKE had 8 Mute Swan (family party), 25 Coot, 8 Gadwall and 3 flyover Ring-necked Parakeet.
Equally impressive number of COOT were counted on STOCKERS LAKE, with 172 at the south end and 230 at the north (402), with other counts including 12 Mute Swan, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 53 Gadwall, 35 Wigeon, 246 Tufted Duck, 83 Pochard, a female COMMON GOLDENEYE, 1 Grey Heron, 35 Lapwing and 240 Black-headed Gulls. In the woodland fringes, 2 Song Thrush, Goldcrest, 6 Ring-necked Parakeet, 8 Robin and a COMMON CHIFFCHAFF were recorded.
Adjacent BURY LAKE harboured Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, 62 Coot, 15 Tufted Duck, 8 Gadwall and 19 Mute Swan - 10 of the latter being colour-ringed '4AOE', '4AVM' (ring broken), '845', '818', '979' (a blue ring), '4BHM', '4BHN', '832' and the pairing '002' and '840'.
Two more ringed Mute Swans were on BATCHWORTH LAKE - 4ACY and another with just a metal ring - as well as 9 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard and 2 Coot.
At STOCKERS FARM, both Redwing and Fieldfare were showing well (see images below), with 6 Common Starling, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch and Red Kite all being seen. There was no sign of any House Sparrows around the bridge and no sign of the two Common Stonechats that had been lingering in the area.
In total, 1,244 Coot were counted......