Wind, dark days, conferences, football, hangovers, new chainsaw.....
All added up to me doing my WeBS count a week later than when it should have been done. The wind has died down by early afternoon which made birding a bit more pleasant.
Not much wildfowl about, only a handful of ducks on the Budge fields. This is due to the amount of thick rush around the edge of the scrapes and vegetation in them. Horses and sheep are OK at grazing grassy swards, but they are selective grazers, nibbling away at the tasty soft-stuff and leaving the rest.
NWT really need to get in and control the rushes, they have done some cutting but only a drop-in-the-ocean. The ground is still dry, they could get a tractor-mounted flail in there if they are quick. Ideally some highland cattle should then be brought in to munch any re-growth.
The water levels on the big pool are the lowest they have been all year, which shows how dry this autumn has been. There's lots of 'edge', ideal for any greater yellowlegs that are passing over (hint). Highlight of the WeBS count was a water rail, poking about on the edge of the reedbed. Water rail is often heard at Druridge but rarely seen, so it was nice to watch this one. Also of note was a shelduck, a very rare bird in winter at Druridge.
Not sure when I'll be back on the patch. It'll be March before I can do any pre or post-work birding again.