I decided to get my a*”e into gear and get to Marston STW yesterday morning for a few hours wander around to see what was about. When loading the car, I was greeted with at least 12 Black Headed Gull on mine and my neighbour’s roofs.
It was a cold but sunny blue skied morning upon arrival in the car park.
I made my way to the hide seeing the usual small tit and finch flocks dotting around the other side of the hedgerow leading to Viking Way. A couple of Bullies flew overhead from the scrape in the general direction of the Urban Hotel.
The first birds seen and heard was a large group (about 150) of Greylag Geese making their presence known before dropping in the vicinity of Hougham Mill Lane. The scrape was very quiet with initial scans with my bins revealing 5 Teal a couple of Moorhen and 2 Wren calling around the hide being seen. Then a small group of Gadwall dropped in, 3 pairs in all and that was it for the next 30 minutes. Water levels are very high at the moment on the scape.
With the landing of the 3 pair of Gadwall an odd hen then shortly after another 7 Gadwall came to meet the others from the right of the hide making 14 birds in total. The hide / scrape area was pretty quiet really with little in the air also, only Blackbirds, Corvids and Wood Pigeons seen from the hide.
A Sleaford birder called Steve (good name!) came into the hide and after a nice avian / photography related chat off I went to see what was about, the ears primed for listening for the Trill of Waxwings and the eyes peeled for the sight of Stonechat in the reed beds. Sadly, neither came to fruition so will be getting me eyes and ears checked next week as a precaution! I did though see a Cormorant in the distance.
On the bridle path heading towards Hougham Mill Lane this Kestrel hunted briefly.
I got the bottom end of Hougham Mill Lane and was greeted by around 300 Greylags. I carefully scanned to see if anything interesting was mixed in with them, no White Fronted etc. but did see this bird with a neck ring on. I think I can recall Dave R reporting a ringed Greylag in the past (correct me if I am wrong Dave), if correct is this the same bird?
Also in the 300 greylag gaggle was this pale variant bird.
It then got a little more interesting here with a Fox appearing in the field, its best efforts to upset the Greylags and Curlew in the field only resulted in the Curlew re-positioning themselves father away from the Fox with the Greylags just raising their heads in unison to keep an eye on the interloper!
The fox finally disappeared so I carried on walking down Hougham Mill Lane, I think a female Tufted Duck flew over me towards the scrape off this road, 3 small groups of Starlings were murmerating separately before flying away towards Marston village. I did catch 2 brief glimpses of a large raptor in the general area of the hide / scrape from mill Lane and said to myself ‘hope that’s not a Marsh Harrier’!
In the horse paddock a lone Mistle Thrush was the only bird seen and these 2 Pied Wagtail were seen in a field at the village end of Hougham Mill Lane.
Made my way back to the car park to once again bump into Sleaford birder Steve who confirmed that the raptor I had seen earlier was in fact a pair of Buzzards that had landed to the left of the hide for a short while, thankfully not a Harrier then – good!
Another brief chat and away I went home, am not 100% sure but thought I saw a couple of Fieldfare in the air close to the 1st bridge heading back to Barkston.