Happy New Year! Decided to start the new year with an afternoon jaunt over to Middleton, hopefully to see the Smew that has been reported there on the 28th. Also the RSPB had a guided walk planned for the afternoon, so we thought we would give that a try.
We set off about 13:10 and as we were getting in the car a Buzzard circled low overhead, a good omen perhaps! We shall see. So set off, then as we were joining the M5 at Oldbury my wife spotted a Kestrel perched on a tree just on the island by the slip road onto the M5. So a good start.
Arrived at Middleton and joined up with the walking group and dutifully paid our £2 each to the RSPB volunteers and set off from the car park. We immediately stopped To view the feeding station from the platform by the reed beds near the heronry. We were rewarded with:
Great Tit, Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Linnet, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Robin, House Sparrow and a Reed Bunting, followed by a Grey Heron flying over and descending into the Heronry and Fieldfare flying over as well.
We then carried on to the woods and a brief stop at the next platform overlooking the pool to the right of the woods, only thing to report there were a few Mallard and a Kestrel. Nothing to report in the woods, apart from mud, and it being very dull and dark, so no photos today.
After crossing the canal we went anti clockwise around the wetlands walk, we left the walking group after the screen as they weren't going to go all the way around. We then learnt that the Smew had departed southwards not long before, oh well that's birding for you, despite that we enjoyed our walk round which was quite productive and got the new year off to a good start, here's a list of the rest that we were fortunate enough to see:
Woodpigeon, Long Tailed Tit, Coot, Lapwing, Wigeon, Black Headed Gull, Mute Swan, Teal, Gadwall, Canada Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Blackbird, Shoveller, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Lesser black backed gull, Rook, Little Egret, Common Snipe, Pheasant, Cormorant, Magpie, & Moorhen.