End of year update from Carr Vale NR. On 23rd the only bird of note was a single Chiffchaff but on 24th two adult Whooper Swans dropped in (the 11th record of the year which is a new record) and the same day six Snipe and two Chiffchaffs were noted. Two visits on Christmas day (dawn and dusk) produced two Grey Lag Geese, four Water Rails, Chiffchaff and at least one Brambling flew over. Boxing Day we logged two Grey Lag Geese, a female Goosander, Barn Owl, two Cetti’s Warblers, six Chiffchaffs and Ian counted 83 Pied Wagtails feeding on a field. Highlight of the 27th was a good look at one of the Cetti’s Warblers plus a good count of six Chiffchaffs. Also on this day included in the 60 species recorded there were counts 21 Gadwall, 60 Teal, four Water Rails, eight Snipe, Peregrine, Raven, Cetti’s Warbler (seen) and four Chiffchaffs. On 28th Wigeon peaked at 112, six Snipe, Peregrine, Cetti’s Warbler heard, three Chiffchaffs plus the Siberian Chiffchaff again. On 29th bird of the day was a Common (Mealy) Redpoll, the tenth record for the area but the first since 2011. It’s with a very mobile, flighty and elusive mixed flock of Redpoll and Goldfinches (40 birds) and there’s more than likely several Mealies amongst them, just need the flock to settle long enough to allow good scope views. Also on 29th a Peregrine, no sign of the Siberian Chiffchaff but four Common Chiffchaffs. On 30th 108 Wigeon, 63 Teal, 13 Cormorants (12 south or south-west in flocks of nine and three), 185 Herring Gulls, Barn Owl seen, Tawny Owl heard but just one Chiffchaff. New Years eve and for the first time we did a co-ordinated, timed count of the five major bird tables in an effort to determine the number of Willow Tits, Coal Tits and 11 Bullfinches in the area. Unfortunately it wasn’t that successful as we only found three Willow Tits but six Coal Tits equalled the site record, 35 Blue and 30 Great Tits was about expected and there were 11 Bullfinches. Also that day 109 Wigeon, Barn Owl, Peregrine, Chiffchaff and 59 Pied Wagtails whilst it was good to know that three of our lingering site rarities were still on site, Marsh Tit, Cetti’s Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff. Just have to hope we can relocate the Mealy Redpoll in the New Year too. So that was it, the end of 2018, a steady year that produced a slightly above average total of 149 species. Big thanks to my regular companions Ian Swain, Phil Snaith, Arthur Gee, Tony Adams, Brian Foster and Tony Irons and weekenders Mike Beck and Nigel Maclean. Your continued efforts and support are greatly appreciated.
Carr Vale sighting reported by Mark Beevers
Two adult Whooper Swans dropped in.