Thursday, 1 December 2016

A walk in the park.

I took one of the dogs for a walk through Orrell Water Park and around some of the adjacent farmland at lunchtime and it produced some really good sightings. I had only just walked into the park when I came across 15 Goosanders on the top lake which is easily a record count for the site. There has been a really confiding bird recently and that one even comes out of the water for bread, but the species is normally a scarce and visitor (in low single figures) and they usually fly off as soon as there are a few people around. This flock was remarkably settled and didn't seem to mind numerous people and their dogs walking round what is only a very small lake. The light wasn't very good but I thought it was worth getting a few record shots so I nipped back home for the camera.

After getting a few photos I carried on through the park and around one of the adjacent fields that has been holding a small roost of Snipe. I only counted 9 but there could have been a few more as they can be difficult to see if they are well hunkered down. I first noticed that Snipe were roosting in this field on 12th November, when I counted 19, and a few days later (15th) there were at least 27. I have not seen Snipe roosting in a field of winter cereal before and it was even more surprising because there is a very popular dog walking route that goes around the perimeter of this field.

There are at least 9 Snipe in this photo, 6 in the little huddle and at least 3 others dotted about to the right.

A zoomed in view of the huddle taken from a closer vantage point.
After checking out the Snipe and throwing a ball for the dog for a while I headed back towards the park and home. The light was a little better as I was passing the top lake in the park and the Goosanders were still there so I took a few more photographs.

12 of the 15 Goosanders plus a Great Crested Grebe.

This Great Crested Grebe is a youngster from a late brood and semi-mingled with the Goosanders. It also indulged in a bit of display towards them at one point as can be seen from the sequence of shots below.

After photographing the Goosanders I decided to check out the gulls by the car park so I took the dog home and grabbed a few slices of bread. Somebody was already feeding the gulls and tame wildfowl as I approached and it wasn't long before I saw a familiar ringed bird. It was the German ringed Black-headed Gull that I first recorded on 27/10/2012 and has wintered at the site each year since. It is usually present from late October to late February and is often one of the first birds to come to any handouts.

German ringed Black-headed Gull.
IA141745    Black-headed Gull (ringed as an adult)
Ringed              29/04/2012  Bohmke und Werder, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
Photographed   01/12/2016 Orrell Water Park, Orrell, Greater Manchester. 1102 km W.

IA141745 wasn't the only ringed Black-headed Gull and I also noticed one with a green colour ring inscribed J360P. This is a bird I hadn't seen or photographed before and it also had a metal ring with number K06036 and Stavanger as part of the address, so it was obviously a Norwegian ringed bird. A did a quick search on the internet when I returned home and soon found the colour ringing scheme and a site where I could report the bird and access the ringing data as detailed below.

Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull
K06036 (J36P)  Black-headed Gull (ringed as a chick)
Ringed              14/06/2015  Søndre Langåra, Frogn, Akershus & Oslo, Norway.
Photographed   01/12/2016  Orrell Water Park, Orrell, Greater Manchester. 1065 km SW.

I also photographed a colour-ringed Canada Goose. This bird was originally ringed in Cheshire and I have recorded it numerous times already this year.

Canada Goose C75
5260475   Canada Goose (ringed as a first year)
Ringed              05/09/2013  Baddiley Meres, Natwich, Cheshire.
Photographed   01/12/2016  Orrell Water Park, Orrell, Greater Manchester. 53 km N.

All in all not a bad set of sightings in the space of an hour or so.

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