A day out in Staffordshire for the first time in a few weeks. The day started off at Westport as per usual. Not a bad visit with a personal record equalled with 9 species of duck seen. They were Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, two Goldeneye, five Teal dotted about, a male Gadwall, a female Goosander, Sammy and finally three Wigeon flew around.
Next stops were on the Chase with brief visits to the Glacial Boulder and the Cadet Huts. Not a lot at either place except for loads of Fieldfare and Redwing.
Then onto the pits. I was not sure what to expect, as I remembered from last winter that a lot of the birds tend to move out. It was like that at Westport this week - very few birds on show. At BGPs, there was quite a large patch of open water on the first pit, but the Sandy Pit was still iced over, and actually there was only one bird on the whole pit - a female Teal. However, what made matters worse at Branston was a pheasant shoot had just started. It was slightly unnerving feeling the bullets wizz past my head and not being able to see the shooters! Luckily, it was over relatively quickly. The worse thing about visiting Branston at the moment is walking straight past a bird scarer. This is the second time I've played Russian roulette with this one. Fortunately it went off this time when I was quite a way away, but you just don't know when its going to go off next. Nightmare!
So it was on to my last site for the day. Again slightly more open water and a few more birds - 46 Goldeneye and 50 Goosander present. A small gull roost formed with 20 GBBG dropping in. I decided to stay here till the end of play instead of doing the roost at Blithfield. Nothing else dropped in and that was it for the day.
Mr Mant later emailed me to say it was the best roost at Blithers in years with the Chasewater birds going there now while the water levels are low. Two ICELAND GULLS were present. Oh well, there's always next weekend.