Field Trip to Tittesworth Water - 10th December 2016

A misty, moisty, morning found 15 birders at Tittesworth Water, Meerbrook, well managed by Severn Trent water for birding, walking and other activities. The reservoir was constructed as early as 1858; it is now used to store the water for homes in parts of North Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent and Leek. Between 1959 and 1963 the site was improved and in 1998 a visitor centre was constructed.

Arriving by car we quickly spotted full feeders by the car park with Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch refuelling for the day, with Mallard, Pheasant and Robin feeding on the fallen seeds. A Treecreeper was seen in the adjacent car park along with perched Kestrel.

First stop was the northern end of the water with Tufted Duck, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye, and Wigeon with their smart yellow foreheads, Black headed Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Carrion Crow sat on the fence and a Kestrel flew over, followed later by Starlings. House Sparrows chattered and argued in the hedge and a Blackbird flew by. A large flock of Canada Geese were noted in the fields beyond. We headed for East Hide. Settling down a call went up “is that a Kingfisher? “ No! - to much amusement it was a small blue drain reflecting well in the still water. Now we added to our list Goosander, a handsome duck, the largest of the sawbills, a well-camouflaged Snipe, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker flew over and landed on a nearby tree. Leaving the hide we retraced our footsteps and were pleased to see the winter visitors Redwing and Fieldfare. A handsome Rook had arrived to sit on the fence.

We walked back towards the Visitor Centre to follow the red route around the wider south water. Here we were joined by Angela. This time we did see a Kingfisher on the far side of the water, perched and very still. Walking slowly along the path a Bullfinch was calling and seen, Fieldfare flying over. We past an engineered log jam to attract and shelter insect life but also to protect the banks of the river. A Pied Wagtail foraged in a sandy bay. The Kingfisher was seen again, a special treat. Jay and Wren were heard and seen. Continuing along our route, pretty Long-tailed Tits were flitting in the trees, another sighting of the Bullfinch and a beautifully speckled Song Thrush. Reed Bunting, Magpie, Coot, Greenfinch, Wood Pigeon completed our day. A total field count of 42 left us all very pleased with our morning.

At 11.45am it was time to leave to go the Lazy Trout for our Christmas lunch. A superb meal enjoyed by all at the well-chosen venue selected by Annette. Many thanks to her for organising this Christmas lunch, and many thanks also to Brian who works hard for WGBG.

Wishing you all a prosperous 2017 and great birding.

JENNY I

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