Five trips to Shalford Water Meadows/Broadford Marsh this week.
Monday 11th January
A quick after work visit just before dusk yielded brief views of a hunting Barn Owl, a Woodcock flying out to feed, heard-only Snipe and Green Sandpiper and at least twenty Teal and seven Shoveler flying in to roost on the marsh.
Wednesday 13th January
A productive three-and-a-half hours this morning produced fifty-four species, including a pair of Stonechats near St Catherine's Lock - the male looking handsome in near breeding plumage, although both still too mobile to get a decent photo. Also of note was a male Blackcap feeding on ivy berries along Dagley Lane by the railway bridge.
Viewing from the railway line footpath south towards Broadford Marsh I was able to pick out a handful of Teal and Shoveler but couldn't see the Green Sandpiper I'd seen and heard earlier in the week.
Other common bits added to the patch year list today included nine Rooks squabbling in an oak tree near the railway line, two Meadow Pipits over the lock and at least three House Sparrows in the hedge by the allotments.
Thursday 14th January
Two brief trips today early and late. I arrived in the morning to find the patch bathed in glorious sunshine. A female Stonechat was still hanging around near the lock, while a Sparrowhawk displayed overhead. There were plenty of gulls moving overhead as usual, mostly Black-headed heading south, although both Lesser and Great Black-backed Gull also made an appearance, the latter a 3rd winter bird powering its way north straight up the river. On the way home after my morning visit I added Red Kite to the patch year list, with one drifting high over the village.
My late afternoon visit again featured lots of gulls, this time heading north up the river, again mostly Black-headed although this time interspersed with small groups of Common Gulls. At least seventy-five in total, between 14:45 and 16:15.
As I was heading home I noticed a Chiffchaff calling in the reedy ditch towards the southern end of the meadows.
Sunday 17th January
A rather uneventful after work visit after the earlier snow, with only the usual Teal and Mallard flying in to roost at Broadford, plus plenty of calling Snipe at dusk.
A few photos from this week.