But will the floods deliver...?
The waters have pulled in some birds, but 2 adult and 2 immature Mute Swans and but 34 Canada Geese aren't what I was hoping for. Arty blurred shot of the geese here:
But then, tucked away at the back I find some wildfowl gold... Wigeon! Only the second record of this species in the area.
18 Wigeon in total, though typically flighty:
I work my way south along the river, a Grey Wagtail flies in (the second in a month) and Mallard flush at every bend. Two smaller duck stand out, but are too distant to identify... but are a taste of things to come:
In a field on the other side of the flooded river I find a flock of duck, but they are distant and in the shadows. Gradually I pick out a few features: the males have cream patches on the rear flanks, a horizontal white stripe below the wing... Teal! My first for the area and loads of them, but before I can see more they take flight and move north to the Wigeon flood. I follow them back where they give distant views, a total of 50 Teal:
An explosion of terrified Woodpigeon and Black-headed Gulls leads me to scan the skies for a raptor, but I'm not expecting one of these, a hunting Peregrine:
Satisfied with a flood haul of 18 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 7 Grey Herons and a Grey Wagtail I work my way back along the set-aside hedgerow, which holds good numbers of Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings, Redwings and Fieldfares. I find Yellowhammers really difficult to photograph, they glow yellow in low winter light but are shy and difficult to approach. This is the best of todays efforts, a male in the process of leaving: