Winter Hill was.

All clear skies and icy everywhere, with Winter Hill blue/white on the inland horizon this morning as I went to Lunt Meadows for an hour or two.
Several Grey Herons were hunting mices in the frozen fields, with Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Shoveler clamouring about on the patches of unfrozen water.
37+ Blackwits around the edges.
At least four Water Rails were calling from the ditches (or maybe just one hidden squealer following me as I completed a circuit of the reserve???).
A Cetti’s Warbler spluttered in the south east corner of the reserve, but was as invisible as the Water Rails.
The frozen water and soil seriously discomknockerated the Snipe on the site – hard work to probe with those bills in these conditions – and small groups frequently took off to circle the area.
I was watching three burst from the grasses when a plumptious Woodcock (sorry, I’ve come over all Doddy for some reason) flew up behind them and pot-belly paddled through the air towards the Forestry Commission woodland, where Siskins and Fieldfares called above the bare branches.
Elsewhere quite a few “owl-arazzi” were set up anticipating a performance from the wintering Short Eared Owls, in the north east corner, but I left the big lenses to it and kept on birding.

Just three Redwings breakfasting on cotoneaster berries at Dempsey Towers earlier this morning, but they were joined by seven Fieldfare and five Blackbirds stripping the shady branches as the sun rose behind them.
Should any Waxwings ever arrive they’ll go bananas when they discover all the berries have gone.
I suppose I could always put a few bananas out for them if it comes to it….

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One thought on “Winter Hill was.

  1. With the Christmas countdown well underway, get into the festive spirit at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve. For those wanting a break from the hustle and bustle of the high streets, a visit to Burton Mere Wetlands is the perfect way to unwind this winter.
    Burton Mere Wetlands is open every day except Christmas Day, 9.30am-4.30pm, with an early close of 3pm on Christmas Eve and a late opening of 10.30am on Boxing Day.
    A High Tide Raptor Watch event is taking place at Parkgate. Visitors have the chance to see the rare phenomenon of the water covering the whole marsh, reaching the sea wall. As well as closer views of thousands of ducks, geese and waders as they are forced upstream by the rising tide, visitors may also spot rare hen harriers in search of mice and voles that are flushed from the grasses.
    The High Tide Raptor Watch takes place on Thursday 4 January from 10.30am-1.30pm and is free of charge, but donations are welcomed on the day. No booking is required but for further information check out the website rspb.org.uk/deeestuary, call the reserve on 0151 3538478 or email deeestuary@rspb.org.uk.

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