A resident breeder found around my patch pond is the [Common] Moorhen(Gallinula chloropus)
A member of the Rallidae family with its distinctive long toes that enable it to walk on water, when frozen, and on waterside vegetation. Generally quite secretive although can be very bold in some locations and often utters an explosive bubbling or gargling call when it reveals its presence.
A very nervous species that frequently twitches its tail revealing the v-shaped white sides to the undertail coverts. Known by various names including Common Waterhen, Marsh Hen and River Chicken.
Its poster red bill dipped in yellow make it very easy to distinguish it from other water birds.
Cormorants drop in from time to time to fish for a meal and can often be seen perching on one of the old tree stumps, wings outstretched, hoping to catch some winter sunshine.
Grey Heron. Nest building was well underway in early February somewhere nearby.
A few Tufted Ducks regularly take up temporary residence during the winter but when the pond froze over in mid February they moved elsewhere.
At long last the Black-headed Gull has nearly switched into its adult summer plumage sporting its dark chocolate coloured cap.
The largest of our winter thrushes is the Fieldfare(Turdus pilaris) which migrated here from Northern Europe during last October will very soon be returning northwards again. I have only recorded a few individuals this winter compared to the large flocks of Redwing which have continuously evaded the lens!
The Song Thrush(Turdus philomelos), whose dogmatic and varied song is a joy to behold, is a year round resident.
The Mistle Thrush(Turdus viscivorus) always sings from a high vantage point.
Up until a few years ago sightings of Coot on the Great Pond were very infrequent but now it is unusual not to see at least two or three on every visit.
A very infrequent visitor on the pond is the Greylag Goose and a pair turned up at the end of last week accompanied by a single Barnacle Goose (see below), a definite rarity for my patch.
One of the regular Canada Geese wasn't very happy about the intrusion of these other geese and attempted to intimidate the much smaller Barnacle Goose, but it wasn't fazed at all by the Canada's boisterous splashing antics. FAB.
During a recent visit to Farlington Marshes on a sunny day I couldn't pass up the opportunity of taking a few flight shots of the colouful Shelduck(Tadorna tadorna) to share with Saturday's Critters. FAB.