Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sunday 10th January

Just a few highlights to report from a generally quiet visit to the lakes between 11am and 1pm. Several small flocks of fieldfare and redwings on both sides of the railway line. Green woodpecker and great spotted on the country park, the great spot was searching for food in small bushes almost down to ground level, seemed odd to see it so low down. Plenty of teal on the river along with the usual numbers of grey heron and one or two lapwing, no redshank seen today. As I walked along the railway track adjacent to Abbey Mead I found two common snipe sitting motionless in the leaf litter close to the path, on both occasions they sat there with me standing a couple of yards away, only flying up at the very last moment just as I was getting my camera ready. I'm sure that they wouldn't have flown at all if I had just carried on walking. Also of interest on my return was a water rail in the millstream by the dipping pond, probably the one I saw a little further down a few days ago.

Now for a bit of a mystery...............when I reached the towpath between the Alders lakes I noticed seven dead coots lying along the edge of the (now receding) ice in the bottom corner of the big lake, pictured below. No mystery there I hear you say, they must have succumbed to the cold. True enough, but i'm sure they weren't there when I walked past on the way out, also all the rest of the coots which have been stuck in this corner were now standing on the ice on the opposite side of the lake. In fact they all started walking back across the ice as I stood there, up to eighty of them maybe more all in single file as if they were being marched by the Pied Piper, it looked quite bizarre, the second picture shows just some of them (click on it to enlarge).
Maybe they did die of cold or hunger, maybe they got themselves trapped under the ice and drowned, only appearing as the ice receded a bit, or maybe someone's been shooting sitting ducks!!




alan woodcock said...

HI,Phil looks like a person with a gun,I will keep my eyes open.

Phil said...

I think you're right Alan, as if the poor things haven't got enough problems.
All the best

Warren Baker said...

Looks suspicious to me Phil, bastards!

Phil said...

Warren, the thing is the birds have to return to the unfrozen part of the lake to feed at the moment. Let's hope the thaw continues and they can get out of range quickly.

Warren Baker said...

Is there any blood on the ice next to the bodies ?

Phil said...

Not that I could see Warren, not sure if you would with pellets though. Didn't get down to that area today, will try to tomorrow. Hopefully there won't be any more!

Forest the Bear said...

Hi Phil, I am angered by the pure ignorance and stupidity of some humans. Some people just don't understand what a great natural resource we have in our wildlife and its right to life :-<

On a more positive note, the March of the Coots is a fantastic shot!

Forest the Bear