Friday 8 January 2010

Another Patch Tick and Video Nasty!

Friday 8th January
Yet another amazing day on the patch (lots of photos) and slightly depressing too, seeing how the birds are so desperate for food, not surprising when you see the photo of the UK from Space -
The Otter Estuary was almost completely frozen this morning and a quick scan of the only open areas produced a cracking drake
Pintail (quite uncommon on the Otter) and a rather depressing sight of a Black-tailed Godwit sat on the edge of the ice with large clumps of ice on its wings. An adult Med Gull, 2+ Common Gull and 2+Lesser-black Backed Gulls were amongst the usual Herring Gull and Black-headed Gull masses and odd Great-black Backed Gull. At least 50+ Snipe visible around the Cricket Pitch today desperately trying to find soft ground around the tree banks. A look at the Chiff Pool produced just 1 Collybita but no sign of the Siberian Chiffchaff in a brief search. The highlight of the day was finding a cracking patch tick, a Jack Snipe feeding in a small stream with some Common Snipe and 3 Water Rail. However, it was what I witnessed next which was pretty amazing! One of the Water Rails feeding in the same stream, suddenly grabbed a Meadow Pipit, drowned it and then began to devour it for the next 10 minutes just metres from me and Doug! See Video nasty below!
It just shows just how desperate these birds are to find food - Water Rails have been recorded taking small birds during harsh weather (BB Axell & Blundell 1962) - Has anyone else witnessed such behaviour??
Other birds on the Otter/the sea included:
Peregrine chasing Redwing and Fieldfare, Skylark, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Cetti's Warbler still feeding near the chiff pool, 3 Tufted Ducks (2 on the Otter and 1 on the sea), 1 Pochard on the sea, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Dunlin, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and very large numbers of Starling
going to roost (not counted).

A frozen Otter Estuary!

Common Snipe on the Cricket Pitch

Water Rail feeding on Meadow Pipit!
Click to enlarge

Little and Large! click to enlarge

More Jack Snipe
click to enlarge


Drake Pintail
Video Nasty!


  1. Heyup Mr T

    Cracking jack snipe !!

    I've never experienced this, but I gather you have to be careful when ringing in reedbeds, water rails can kill and eat birds trapped in the bottom shelf of a mist net if its set too low/not checked regularly enough....