Coming to the end of the winter and the bird song in the woods is beginning to change. Our neighbour Trevor provides us with regular information on the wild and waterbirds at the Tranquil Otter.
Trevor’s observations from his February visits
13th February 2019
“I saw Mike this morning and he told me that a little egret was around the lake for a while yesterday. I thought the little egret was already on my site-list but was confusing it with Cardewmires quarry. So it’s a “first” for the Lough! ”
Find out more about the little egret on the RSPB Website www.rspb.org.uk/little-egret
26th February 2019
“The big surprise was the lack of gadwall. The site seems to have had decreasing numbers over the past 3-4 years and typically they drop to 30-50% of their winter peak during February before they migrate in March. Complete absence may just have been a continuation of that trend, or an aberrant day, but I would expect some to be present.”
“I can’t help wondering if the higher water level is a factor this winter. The literature for gadwall says “Food: Chiefly vegetative part of plants, obtained mainly while swimming with head under water, less often by upending; rarely from the surface.”
“If the water level is higher by a few inches, the submerged plants may be just beyond the gadwall’s reach. Mallard, wigeon & teal seem happy to move into the flooded reeds to feed, but I’ve seen no gadwall in them; maybe they are just a bit too specialised and have gone elsewhere.”
“The species count is below. The figure shows the numbers seen and, where appropriate the bracketed figure is my guesstimate of the population including those hidden in the flooded reeds.
- Canada goose 2,
- Coot 26,
- Grey heron 1,
- Greylag goose 7,
- Little grebe 8,
- Mallard 46 (70),
- Moorhen 6 (12),
- Mute swan 4,
- Shoveler 8,
- Teal 12 (30),
- Tufted duck 22,
- Wigeon 48 (70).
The woodland birds are responding to the weather with a lot of territorial vocalisation, but I’m not convinced that winter is yet over!
We hope you enjoy the Wildlife Report February 2019. Did you manage to see the Gadwall? or the Little Egret? Find out more about the Gadwall on the RSPB website.