Ashleworth and Coombe Hill (8 March 2011, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)
Coombe Hill: a continuing decrease in duck numbers, mostly on the Long Pool: 40 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 90 Teal, 40 Mallard, 8 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Ducks; but 16 Shelducks on scrapes, lekking and pair forming. 26 Curlews had been recorded at dusk on the previous evening; yesterday morning 29 were present, calling to one another. Clearly they were passing migrants, as they all flew off to the north very excitedly with whiffling flight between 07.30 and 08.00. At least 7 Reed Buntings already singing, some not yet in full breeding plumage. And bird of the day, a WREN !!! along the canal bank; they have been few and far between since last December’s cold weather.
At Ashleworth: rather more ducks: 200 Wigeon, 5 Gadwall, 150 Teal, 40 Mallard, 10 Pintail, 20 Shoveler. 33 Snipe flushed. A female Stonechat, the first since last autumn. And a Goldcrest singing in Meerend thicket, another species that has been few and far between.