Kingfisher Seen at tunnel end of Mere. Gulls fishing, took 4 Small fish in a very short time, drat them. Nearly scythed a Brown rat in the orchard. It scuttled away at a great rate of knots and disappeared under a large plant. Orchard full of Muntjac lying-up places, now all soggy and uncomfortable. She'll Switch to evergreens to keep herself Snug and dry now the wet and colder weather is upon us. Ducks are fat beyond fat; and great fluffy, portly squirrels are about all over the Site. Small birds abounding - Blackbirds, Wrens, Robins, Blue and Great tits. As the light was fading, a flock of Fieldfares or Redwings came in silhouetted against the Sky, and went up to roost in the big trees on the Alban Way. Trees still have a fair few leaves on them, really hanging on late this year. Some few flowers are still out; one Cow parsley, some Yarrow and lots of Second-blooming White dead-nettle.
Lots of birds still about as last week, with the addition of many Chaffinches. Fat, sassy squirrels still all over the site. Weather has remained kind, with the exception of one downpour that has taken all the leaves off the trees.
Not a lot about apart from ever-increasing numbers of waterfowl. Counted 60 Mallard Sunday. Small birds stuffing themselves at the feeding stations then fleeing for cover again in the cold. Robin, Dunnock and Wren busy about the leaf-litter -- Robin especially grateful for worms turned up on path reshaping work. Squirrels still scurrying madly about.
Hordes of hungry ducks Some scuttling out of the water in a seething mass at anyone who looks remotely like bearing goodies. Swans Arthur and Guinevere are back, and when being fed they have invented a new sport -- duck chucking ! They grab any duck near enough to them by the scruff of the neck and throw them as far as they can. The ducks don't seem to worry; they just mill around at high speed, darting between the swans' legs and pecking at their toenails.
Small birds stoking up at the feeding stations. Robins hanging about hopefully for insects in the disturbed ground. Mallards still fat and full of beans -- starting territorial fights among the males already.
Next report (Jan 2002)