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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chard Reservoir, worth a visit!

I enjoy a walk around the Chard Reservoir, which is attractive at any time of year and in the winter it often attracts different birds on the water and the woodland ones are easier to spot due to the lack of leaves on the trees.

View towards hide from far end
Last week the water levels were, not surprisingly, high, but so no doubt were the nearby streams and as a result an unusual sighting of a Dipper. The bird flew in and perched on one of the platforms which usually attract cormorants.

Cormorants on the platform with gulls
It then spent some time peering into the water as if deciding whether it was worth plunging in for food.In the end it gave up and flew off the other end of the reservoir, disappearing out of view.

Shall I, shan't I?
I have never seen a Dipper on this site, though frequently see Kingfishers. The trouble is the waters are both deep and murky, making catching their food quite a challenge.

Gulls and ducks were quite numerous, with Black- headed and Herring gulls and Mallard and Teal but despite a sunny start, the squall blew up and soon the surface of the water looked more like the sea than a calm lake, so we headed home.

For more information about the reservoir, including recent sightings see here:

Birds beginning to sing?

The weather over the last few weeks has been very wet, indeed the stormiest December on record (since 1969), together with windiest for 20 years. No surprise then that few birds have been frequenting the bird tables, only making an appearance on the few calmer days.
Robins were singing in early January, especially one bright, but cold morning such as this one in Combe Wood Lane. 
They do this both to claim a territory and to attract a mate for the forthcoming breeding season.Other birds that have made an appearance recently, both singing from high perches and feeding on the ground, have been song thrushes. Again I have seen one in Combe Wood Lane and whilst walking around Chard Reservoir last week saw 3 at once!

Another observation whilst walking around the lanes recently is the sight of hazel catkins, many of which seem much larger and/or more numerous than usual.

Snow drops are also making an early appearance, no doubt due to the mild weather, and the patch near the CME entrance is particularly good.
The birds venturing onto the bird feeders are increasing and I have noticed that greenfinches are quite numerous for the first time in a number of seasons. Once they find a suitable feed station they tend to defend it against all comers and one morning last week I timed one individual who stayed on one perch feeding for over 20 minutes!

Next weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch so don't forget to make sure your feeders are cleaned and topped up so you get the best birds to your garden!