Frensham Great Pond 25 January 2024

A mild but cloudy morning with a damp feel awaited the nine members who attended the walk. Scanning from the car park identified a couple of Great Crested Grebes in middle of the lake and a flock of over forty Pochards in a distant corner. There was also a scattering of Tufted Ducks and Black-headed Gulls on the water and then three Goosanders swam into view. The early stages of the walk began quietly with just the vocalisation of Robins and Blue Tits for company. Further sightings on the banks of the lake included Mallards, Coots and a Moorhen while further out two Cormorants and five more Great Crested Grebes could be observed. Near the hotel two Egyptian and one Canada Geese came into view accompanied by two very peculiar-looking Muscovy Ducks. At the path to the outlet ponds things heated up. Flocks of finches were swirling around in gradually increasing numbers. Skittish at first they began to settle on treetops where they could be identified as Siskins, approaching perhaps 200 in number, a spectacular sight. A hunt for Firecrests then followed. Near the first pond one one called briefly and then another more persistently, finally coming into view as it flitted between hollies. Frustratingly it refused to perch where it could be seen clearly. Meanwhile one member spotted a darting Kingfisher, and both a Grey Heron and a Little Egret flew across the water. Great Tits were engaging in song duels and a Nuthatch was also heard while a Buzzard called eerily as it passed overhead.  In the woods past the hotel a Redwing and a Chaffinch came down to the water for a drink and then another Firecrest appeared. This one was much more obliging and posed on a nearby fence for photographs, a delightful sight.

Further on, the three Goosanders appeared close to the bank and offered excellent views. More treats were waiting on the east side. Another Firecrest appeared in a holly bush in front of a few more Redwings while a Treecreeper called and a small flock of Long-Tailed Tits passed by. Finally towards the end of the walk a small number of Siskins reappeared this time accompanied by a charm of Goldfinches and three Lesser Redpolls. The species list for the morning reached 37, an excellent total for the location.

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