Autumn Waterbirds at the Tranquil Otter
Trevor, our neighbour and RSPB volunteer, can be seen around the woods with his westie Archie. His report makes for interesting reading and informs the monthly Wetlands Birds Survey.
We hope you find Trevor’s commentary and Autumn Waterbirds and their number interesting.
During September the winter ducks started to return after breeding in Scandinavia/Arctic (e.g. Gadwall and Teal), with the winter visitors continuing to arrive in October. By November most of the duck numbers were within the normal range. The Shovelers arrived earlier than usual.
Murmuration of Starling
On 7th November, by a lucky chance, we were driving home just at the right time today. You have just had a significant starling murmuration over the Lough between 4:20-4:35 pm. It wasn’t easy to see from our garden in Thurstonfield, but they appeared to be roosting in the reed-bed.
Their numbers are the norm, and those breeding in the Lough over the summer have dispersed, possibly to Cardewmires Quarry as they don’t breed there, but numbers have gone up in the last few weeks.
At the beginning of autumn, there was a total of 7 adults plus the 3 cygnets, increasing to 21 adults and 6 cygnets by the end of November as others arrived at the Tranquil Otter.
The “stars of the show” in October were the 10 whooper swans making a lot of fuss on the lake. These arctic breeders typically arrive on the Solway in October. While I was viewing from the dock, two of your visitor couples stopped by (interested, but not bird-watchers) and I was able to show them the difference between whoopers and the mutes. Interestingly, the Whooper Swans were all adult birds; they flew off while I was there. They reappeared the following morning as I could hear their bugling from my garden!
This secretive fowl has not appeared since last November; it was good to hear its call. Listen to the call of the Water Rail on the RSPB site.
Skeins of pink-footed goose have been flying overhead regularly in October; they did so today but are not included in the survey count as they didn’t stop at the Lough.
Black-headed gull (76), Coot (70), Gadwall (66), Little Grebe (6), Mallard (25), Moorhen (5), Mute swan (23 adults + 11 cygnets), Shoveler (4), Teal (46), Tufted duck (22), Wigeon (204).
Coot (57), Gadwall (70), Little Grebe (18), Mallard (36), Moorhen (23), Mute swan (12+ 3 juveniles), Teal (62), Tufted duck (12), Water rail (1 heard), Whooper swan (10), Wigeon (220)
The winter ducks are just starting to return after breeding in Scandinavia/Arctic (e.g. Gadwall, Teal). The waterbird count as at 26th September is:
Coot (31), Gadwall (8 pairs), Little Grebe (12), Mallard (42), Moorhen (6), Mute swan (7 adults + 1 & 2Juveniles), Teal (2 female), Tufted duck (1 female).
I didn’t count in the woodland but, from my casual visits, I know that the spring-summer migrants have now departed for their warmer winter grounds. There are plenty of the year-round species including Tits, Robins, Wrens, Blackbirds, too soon yet for the winter influx from Europe.
The Cetti’s Warbler has been seen at Watchtree Nature Reserve nearby if you hear it in the woodlands, please could you let us know?