Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Greylake and Catcott 20/12 Merlin, Harrier, Lapwings and Ducks

Arrived at Greylake at around 10am to bright skies and quite a full carpark. I guess folk were taking advantage of a sunny day for birding and photography.  The hide was full with many familiar faces who had been there for a good couple of hours and declared that the area was pretty quiet as most birds were at the back of the reserve. Within 10 minutes of our arrival a few people left which gave us a front row seat.
It wasn't long until until the action kicked off. The skies were filled with a steady stream of 1000's of Lapwings swimming across the skies almost shaping up to a murmuration!  We have never seen so many Lapwings in one place. It wasn't long until a Marsh Harrier took to the sky along with many ducks as it flew over the reeds. As the Harrier flew it pushed more ducks towards the hide. Two flocks of Snipe whizzed by, their flight sounds amazing! The Merlin is still around and was found sitting on its favourite tree perch some distance away. Plenty of Stonechats around the reserve as well as Reed Buntings.  Highlight of the visit had to be the very close visit to the hide of a female Marsh Harrier - speechless! Other birds of note Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Golden Plover, Great Egret, Little Egret, Raven.

A quick visit to Catcott on our way home, increasing cloud and a cold raw wind blowing through the hide! Large numbers of Fieldfares in the fields around Catcott as well as Starlings.  Still good numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Pintail as well as Lapwing with a few Golden Plover.
Eventually the cold wind won as hands and faces were frozen and we left after about an hour.

   Steady stream of Lapwings

                  A Murmuration of Lapwings as they twisted and turned in the sky

                   Flying high Golden Plover with the Lapwings

                 Winter moon


                   The chase - Wigeon



                  'Cat amongst the pigeons'!

   Marsh Harrier and Wigeon


   Huge flocks of waterfowl at the back of the reserve


   Wigeon flying in



                   Settling in after the Harrier hunt

                   Spot the Merlin      

                  Wren - often seen in front of the hide

    Stonechat - good numbers seen on the reserve


   Female Marsh Harrier came in quite close to the hide


                    Intense stare from the Harrier

  Harrier giving chase

                  Stonechat near the carpark


   Fieldfare - good numbers in the fields around Catcott 


                   Sleeping Wigeon



   Good flock of Lapwing at Catcott as well

                   Golden Plover

  Pintail, such an elegant duck



                   Female Pintail

   Love that dynamic flying shape

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