Dec 2016/Jan 2017 birding update from Steve Waite

In an unprecedented move, Steve has delivered us a double whammy of birdwatching updates spanning December and January 🙂

As always, his input is much appreciated and do make sure to check out his site at — not only is Steve an expert birder, he’s also a fantastic photographer and it’s well worth a visit!

December 2016 & January 2017 Update

The Tufted Duck from November remained throughout this whole period, and can be seen daily among the Mallard flock on the top pond. The other scarcity from November, the Yellow-browed Warbler, remained until 12th December but hasn’t been seen since. This fits it with other Yellow-browed Warblers in the south west in December, many moved on mid-month in what was probably a weather related movement. There’s also been a Cetti’s Warbler wintering on site, though it is more often heard than seen.

New arrivals during this period include these three Gadwall (two drake and a female) that were briefly alongside the Tufted Duck on 19th January.


Gadwall with Tufted Duck © Steve Waite


There’s been excellent numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares this winter too, with several hundred roosting at the Ponds some nights. Whilst watching these on occasions a Barn Owl could be seen hunting around the Ponds at dusk, with the occasional call of Little Owl from nearby farms.

What’s striking to see is how the family group of Mute Swans has begun to break up, although the female still seems happy to have last year’s babies around, the male is much happier on his own!

MuteSwansLBPsplitup MuteSwanbumLBP

Mute Swans © Steve Waite

June Birding Update: Tufted Ducks and Coot

June Update

The highlight of what is often the quietest month for birds were three Tufted Ducks (two drakes and a female). They were first seen on the Axe Estuary on Monday 13th June, but soon relocated to the Ponds where they remained beyond the end of the month. Tufted Ducks are unlike any other of the regular ducks species that reside in the Axe Valley as they are diving ducks. The Ponds provide the largest body of deep fresh water around so any diving ducks that do pay us a visit usually wind up here.


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Male and female Tufted Duck © Tim White


The seven cygnets seem to be growing well, with both parents always nearby. And it looks as though there are four pairs of Coot spread across the network of lakes, it is great to see this formally locally rare breeding species increasing in numbers.

Thanks as always to Steve for the update; thanks to Tim White for the photos.