Spring in sight in the Severn Vale

At Severn Vale sites there was a distinct decrease in ducks and geese today, and a slight increase in waders, the majority of which appeared to be excited passage birds, while a few couples seemed already to be territorial.

Today at Coombe Hill; fine frosty morning, water levels much lower (south scrape 0.71, north scrape 0.68), partly frozen over; distinct decrease in geese and ducks, but good numbers of waders which looked like wintering birds preparing to depart.  6 Mute Swans, only 2 Canada Geese, NIL Greylags, 16 Shelducks, 248 Wigeon, 485 Teal, 38 Mallard, 38 Pintail, 16 Shoveler, 6 Tufted Ducks, 2 Pochard,  4 Grey Herons, 3 Little Egrets, 17 Coot, 1 Water Rail, 2440 Lapwings (very lively and excited, many coming into summer plumage with red legs but not many with full bib yet), 7 Ruff (up to 11 have been seen by other observers in recent days, according to the logbook), 4 Snipe, 1 Curlew, 22 Dunlin, 1 drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 singng Skylarks, 3 singing Song Thrushes, 1 Reed Bunting.

Since in the last couple of weeks Canada and Greylag Geese seem to have been moving out from Coombe Hill early on, perhaps towards Ripple Lake, I went to Ripple (just in south Worcestershire, south of the M 50);Canada Geese were still present, but not in any numbers, so I assume that, as usual, the wintering Canadas have moved out, leaving only a couple of breeding pairs; on the other hand there were still fair numbers of Greylags present, so they may not have left yet.  Birds seen at Ripple: 1 Mute Swan, 8 Canada Geese (paired probably local breeders), 120 Greylags (including a couple of pairs that appeared to be defending territories on the island), 2 Shelducks (a pair), 2 Mandarins (a pair),  490 Wigeon, 160 Teal, 40 Mallard, 2 Pintail (females), 1 drake Shoveler, 26 Tufted Ducks, 12 Pochard, only 1 Cormorant, 2 Oystercatchers (first I have seen in the Severn or Avon Vales this year), 450 Lapwings (a couple of pairs looking territorial on the island), 1 Golden Plover, 6 Skylarks, 1 Reed Bunting.

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