Well that was my third week off, and towards end I felt that I was walking slightly further now, and in fact I'd managed to visit both of my favourite gravel pits by the weekend.
Being at home for most of the day means I can keep my eye on the garden. On Monday afternoon, I opened the back door and heard a familiar sound - the trilling of 14 Waxwing in a neighbours tree.
A proper photo of Waxwing - not one of your arty-farty berry eating ones!
Westport this week wasn't too bad without being spectatcular; just enough to break my walk up to give me a rest. There were daily records of Goosander, first returning Goldeneye of the winter and Pochard numbers finally reached double figures. On Thursday 29th Nov, a female Mandarin was showing well, swimming around with the Mallard.
Mandarin at Westport - 3rd record for the year.
On Friday afternoon, we headed to Branston GP's, primarily for the gull roost there. It was my first attempt at walking across the fields there and all went well, although I was pretty tired by the end. That's the most frustrating thing at the moment - walks I used to knock off with out much effort now leave me jaded. Anyway, at Branston, we met up with pits stalwart Jon Woodcock. Unfortunately, the gull roost didn't materialise, but there was a very nice drake Pintail and a Branston GP tick with a magnificant Black Swan! You know you've had a good visit when Black Swan is the highlight.
Black Swan at BGP
On the way back to the car, we witnessed an excellent sunset. Hopefully, the camera managed to capture the tones. It was very atmospheric though.
Sunset looking towards Small Meadows
And so onto Saturday. We decided to plan a full day out again, and the plan was to visit another gravel pit, but I had to watch the amount of walking I did during the day. Westport was alright again, and then GAS came round to pick me up. As I was waiting, news came through from Tittesworth that Steve Gibson had found a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER. This trip filled the morning nicely and we were soon standing on the point in front of the visitor's centre with SG, Bill Brydges and Paul Shenton watching the GND diving frequently. It did eventually come fairly close in and show quite well. This is only the second ever record for GND at Tittesworth, the first record was back in 1985.
The best I could do with the Tittesworth Great Northern Diver
We had a quick drive over the moors, seeing several Red Grouse, but that was all really. The rest of the day was quite quiet with not much to see at all.