A very mild 15c today with a light northwesterly breeze, a very light shower early on, but ground was very wet from overnight rain, the main lake was completely ice free for the 1st time since the end of November, the boating lake was about 60% ice free and the middle pool in the nature reserve was ice free but the other two still heavily covered, visit was just over 2 hrs.
First birds of note might seem a bit unusual to most people as 10+ House Sparrows by the bottom entrance doesn't sound very exciting, however House Sparrows at Westport are very few and far between with normally just single figures seen around the Ted Heath Rocks area, on the playing fields the first of 5 Pied Wagtails, most of which were around the grass verge area and 2 Collared Doves flew over the field, also 2 Mistle Thrushes on here, the first of 4 Bullfinches in the trees at the side of the boating lake the rest were by the first gate and top pool, on the boating lake as usual the 2 pair of Shoveler and 2 Mute Swans with another 2 Swans on the main lake, I saw a couple of colour ringed Coots today (red/orange, red/white & pink/blue), on the main lake 44 Tufted Duck, 1 female Goosander, 24 Pochard and 2 Goldeneye.
By the 1st gate to the nature reserve a single Chaffinch with another 2 by the top pool, 3 single Willow Tits were seen, by the first gate, top pool and middle pool area, a single Jay was by the top pool with a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit, bird or birds of the day came as I was leaving the nature reserve by the 2nd gate when 100 Pink-footed Geese flew over quite low in a perfect 'v' shape they were calling as they flew over the main lake and straight down the canal south, another Westport tick out the way that I should of had a long time ago! On the old gas works a small flock of 9 Siskin flew over, 2 Stock Doves were by the old buildings and a Skylark flew over calling by Jeffs pool, back on the main lake and 2 Common Gulls were with the Black-headed Gulls.
I also meet up with Colin who had just seen the female Pheasant on the old sewage works, near the canal overflow, I'd just come off here and was gutted I'd missed it but at least it's still around as it was last seen on the 1st January.
I haven't run for a bird since my Scilly days in the 80's but I got close too it this afternoon when a text message from Nick came through telling me of a Little Owl at Westport found by Jeff Jones, this we think is a first for Westport, I was at Westport fairly quickly and met up with the finder Jeff (congratulations), sadly he hadn't seen it for about 20mins, George and then Nick arrived and we search the area to no avail, additional birds seen to this morning included a Sparrowhawk over the gas works and a Lesser Black-backed Gull on the boating lake, we managed to see the ring on one of the Mute Swans that arrived overnight and it was a previous Westport visitor although he hadn't been seen since around September time.
Oops I used the wrong Shoveler photo yesterday from Steve Seal, should of been this one below, sorry Steve.