Thursday, 26 February 2015

Sutton Reservoir

With a couple of hours to spare on Monday I headed over to another local spot good for watching wildlife - Sutton Reservoir. It was cool and breezy (still!) and the sunshine was fleeting, but as always it was wonderful to just get out for a walk and some fresh air as well as to see what was out and about. 

Sutton at sunset (taken at a previous visit)

Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed gulls

The regular Mallards and Coots were present, as well as some larger Mallard hybrids which reside there. Black-headed Gulls on the water were joined by Lesser Black-backed gulls, the latter looking a little like bodyguards to the former as they snoozed. 

A flock of Long-tailed tits flitted through the hawthorn hedges separating the reservoir from the neighbouring fields. Meanwhile Robins sang and Blackbirds scolded.
Great Crested Grebe pair

I watched as a Great Crested Grebe swam back towards the centre of the reservoir and dived. I kept the camera ready in case the bird surfaced closer to where I was stood rather than (as usually happens) farther away, where they might surface always being an unpredictable guessing game. The grebe I had been watching I heard calling - that wonderful deep gutteral call, and this was reciprocated by a similar call from another. The pair swam towards each other and then started their courtship display, or at least a part of it. My camera can take videos however I rarely use it for this (and I haven't quite got the hang of it yet!) however on this occasion I thought to at least give it a try. You can hear that it was windy (probably better to mute it!) and admittedly the video isn't great but it's always such a delight to see this display and I was really pleased to capture some of it on video.


Cormorant overhead
A large black bird flying overhead was a Cormorant and [presumably] the same bird I also watched fishing in the deeper areas of the reservoir.  

In the summertime this has been a lovely place to spot migrant birds such as Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers, and to hear (if not always see) Blackcaps - the males often singing their scratchy song from the cover of the undergrowth. I'm looking forward to our summer migrants returning, starting with the Chiffchaffs that should be arriving with us in the next few weeks....

Chiffchaff (taken last spring)

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