Drake Pochard at Pitsford Reservoir
I was drawn this morning to the Northamptonshire Reservoirs of Pitsford and Ravensthorpe in the hope of some year ticks. Arriving at the Pitsford causeway, the wind was very strong and the cloud obscured what was (eventually) to be a very pleasant, sunny morning. Nothing other than the expected wildfowl from the causeway, so I headed to the feeding station in the hope of finches, buntings and sparrows. The path resembled a first world war battlefield swamp, but I eventually made it! Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows, Reed Buntings and a male Brambling were added to my year list together with a nearby Common Snipe.
Yellowhammers and Brambling
I had hoped that the Great White Egret would be around, but sadly, I could not locate it.
Leaving Pitsford, I headed over to Ravensthorpe where a number of Smew had been reported. The causeway carpark is still closed for the winter and it took some time to find a space on the verge to park without getting bogged down! Arriving on the causeway, I located the Smews, but they remained distant, on the "private" side. However, it was to be a bit of a "Smewfest" with four drakes and six redheads (my first for the year) in total. It was great to watch the drakes displaying to the redheads, with rival drakes and some of the redheads tussling for favour!
It was not just the Smews that were tussling for love! The local Coots were having a right battle as well!
Great Crested Grebe; Dabchick; Cormorant: Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Greylag Goose; Wigeon; Mallard; Teal; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Smew; Goldeneye; Kestrel; Buzzard; Coot; Moorhen; Lapwing; Snipe; Black Headed Gull; Common Gull; LBB Gull; Herring Gull; Wood Pigeon; Collared Dove; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Skylark; Pied Wagtail: Dunnock; Robin; Blackbird; Fieldfare; Redwing; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Starling; Magpie; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Rook; House Sparrow; Tree Sparrow; Brambling; Goldfinch; Yellowhammer; Reed Bunting.