Sue and Geoff plus 9 (including one visitor) gathered at Testwood Lakes Centre on a rather dull morning for this meeting, mostly focusing on birds and identification of winter trees from their twigs.
There was virtually no wind so small birds were active and visible if somewhat difficult to identify in less than ideal light. Unfortunately the feeders near the centre had not been filled but around the lakes Long-tailed Tits and Goldfinch were much in evidence and Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldcrest were also spotted in the trees. Blue Tit and Great Tit were active on the feeders by the Heron hide and a Song Thrush landed in the nearby fields as we returned to the centre. As usual we were accompanied for most of the morning by a Robin or Robins which appear to have become a sort of unofficial mascot of LymNats field meetings.
|Gadwall - a pair|
Various species of gull were evident and there was spirited debate over one individual which was thought to be a Common Gull but, as it didn't look “happy,” was more likely a juvenile Herring Gull. We had an excellent view of Shoveler and Gadwall from the screens by the scrapes and a Pochard was spotted amongst Tufted Duck on Meadow Lake. Several Great Crested Grebe were seen with Lapwing, a Grey Heron and a group of Cormorants. In all, 33 species were identified.
As there had been few species of bird showing on the recce, Geoff and Sue added interest with a basic guide to identification of trees from their winter twigs (courtesy of the Woodland Trust website). This was enjoyed by all and generated much discussion as we closely examined various twigs as an alternative to naming trees from their leaves and/or winter shape. Alder, Oak, Willow, Hawthorn, Hazel, Lime and Field Maple were confirmed and we discovered (to our surprise) that Hazel twigs are hairy when examined with a hand lens.