It was a lovely mild sunny day today -almost spring-like - so as I wasn't going on a hospital visit, I rushed through the domestic chores this morning, and went over to the RSPB Reserve at Middleton Lakes this afternoon.
There were plenty of blue and great tits plus a robin on the feeders and several grey herons (new species for the year) on nests in the herony. A walk through woodland revealed blackbirds and a chaffinch (new for the year) and lots of mallard on a small pool seen from the viewpoint.
Pheasants were seen in a field adjacent to the canal - another new species for the year. Don't you just love January with all those new year ticks!
There was a work party on one of the islands on the first pool as I entered the wetland part of the reserve so there wasn't a lot of birds about but I did see coot, mallard, tufted duck, mute swan and great crested grebe (new for year).
I know that Short-eared Owls have been seen again recently and as I scanned the bunds on the other side of the river I could make out a creamy coloured bird quartering. I shot over (well, squelched my way through the mud!) to the meadow trail to get better views and, oh yes, it was a Short-eared Owl! What a beautiful bird even if the views were rather distant! For me this is a new species for the Reserve, a year tick, a Warwickshire tick and a LIFER!
Sorry no photos of birds - I didn't take the camera today (lack of hides at the moment on the reserve mean the birds are often too far away). The photos above are from a previous visit last May - apologies to regular readers of the blog as I keep recycling these photos!
A drake smew has been seen on the reserve recently which would be another lifer for me but I didn't have time today to walk around the pools looking.
One other bird today to be added to the year list - a kestrel seen locally.