Chichester Lakes - 19 January 2022 - Leader Jim Bagley

There was much chattering amongst the members (old and new) as we rejoiced in meeting up again after the Christmas break. At 10 o’clock, 17 pairs of eyes set off up the lane. In addition to the Long-tailed tits seen in the car park, Starling, Blue tit, Robin, Great tit, Jackdaw, Crow, Blackbird and Magpie were noted.

On the first lake were the first of many Coot and also Gadwall, Tufted duck, Mallard and a group of resting Pochard on the far side, by the chalets. I was introduced to the term commensal feeding by a learned member – where one species relies on another to stir up prey. One example here being the diving Coots stirring up plant material for the dabbling Gadwall to feed on.  Cormorants and a pair of colourful Egyptian geese flew over, both of these species were to be seen later on, at the furthest lake. With a loud cackling and honking, a flock of Greylag geese (accompanied by a few Canadas) came in to land on the lake to our left.

Half a dozen Moorhen were enjoying the grass lawns around the recently restored house and as the trackside vegetation increased, members reported Chiffchaff, more Long-tailed tits and two Heron (one in a bush at the lakeside and another hidden in plain sight in the centre of the track ahead of us!) On Ivy Lake, both Little grebe and Great crested grebe were clearly identified along with a pair of Shoveler. Great spotted woodpecker was added to the list, distinctly heard by some and seen by others.

Herring gull and Black-headed gull were on the furthest lake and on a smaller, well sheltered lake, a family of swans with last year’s cygnets were sailing serenely whilst the features of Gadwall could now be seen in close up. As we made our way back, a wren was heard singing to distract us from the drizzle which had now arrived.

Altogether a splendid morning, many thanks to Jim and to all attendees for their cheerful company. (Photos courtesy of Christian Hance.)

Gill Hance

John Arnott adds: " The two darker-backed Herring Gulls were almost certainly the northern Europe race argentatus, originating from Scandinavia and the Baltic.  The more usual Herring Gulls with pale grey backs were our familiar western Europe race argenteus.  If you’ve got the Collins Bird Guide, pages 184/185 show the difference.  Jim instantly spotted the darker grey backs (not dark enough for Lesser Black-backed) and they weren’t Yellow-legged Gulls as I could get glimpses of their pinky-grey legs while they were very actively bathing plus (in the ‘scope) the red spot on the beak was confined to the lower mandible."

Chi Lakes Jan 2022
Tufted Duck

Egyptian goose. Chi Lakes Jan 2022
Egyptian Goose (and Coot)

Chi Lakes Jan 2022


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