|The 2012 redhead smew (pic by Dan H)|
I managed to get out for an hour or so early afternoon and hopped on my bike and headed to Aldcliffe where my first stop was Freeman's Pools.
Scanning over the partially iced-over water I could see the usual coot, teal, gadwall, mute swan, wigeon and mallard. Then a small duck bobbed to the surface - chestnut crown, bright white cheeks and grey body. Lovely, a 'redhead' smew! The first I've seen for quite a few years and only the third I've ever seen in the Aldcliffe area.
Presumably this is the same returning bird that was been seen at the pools in the winters of 2010 and 2012 (where was it in 2011?). Let's hope it sticks around a while for others to enjoy.
Other aves of note included 2 pairs of shoveler on the Wildfowlers' Pools. There were also 12 meadow pipits feeding with pied wagtails in the wet fields around the pool edges - something of a surprise as I haven't seen any in the area recently.
The dunlin flock on the Flood continues to increase with 53 birds there today. With no rain recently, water levels at the Flood and the Wildfowlers' Pools are really low now and have left lovely large areas of muddy stuff that could well attract passing birds in the coming weeks.
Oh yes, the barn owl has been showing well and on cue in recent days but I have yet to locate where it is roosting...