At 8.30am as I drove south towards Rugby, the temperature was -2'C but the sun was shining brightly - a promising start, I thought. However, passing through Rugby on the way south to Dunchurch and Draycote Water the mist began to creep up and it wasn't until much later in the day that it left us. For the whole of the morning you couldn't see more than 30-40 yards across the water - dismal! To cap it all the paths were quite slippery.
Eleven of us ( Graham, Nev, Julie, Angie, John, Wendy, Neil, Marion, Fred, Linda and Madeleine) had ventured out and were determined to enjoy the first club walk of the year. We headed off to the left of the car park to the rear of the sailing club past the playground and up to the top of the small hill where you can normally get a super view of the reservoir - fog! We had spotted a few birds near the playground including a single redwing amongst the blackbirds and chaffinches and a pair of bullfinches accompanied by goldfinches on the right by a small pond. Three or four common gulls were flying overhead surrounded by black-headed gulls. You could clearly distinguish the two species from below by their size and wing pattern.
Down on the water's edge we found tufted ducks, mallards, coots and little grebes with two scaup. Further along the path a goldeneye swam into view; pied wagtails flitted about the rocks too. Continuing nearly to the dam a goldcrest, a treecreeper and a lone tree sparrow were seen deep in the hedgerow.
On reaching the dam near the bird feeders, a pair of reed bunting followed by three spectacular yellowhammers popped out of the bushes. Meanwhile, on the water, a female goosander swam amongst several great crested grebes. The wildfowl seemed to prefer being out of the fog. As they were so close in we had very good views.
We had seen 30 different birds up to this point. Unfortunately three of us had to return home, but the rest of the group continued all the way round the reservoir spotting a further 22 birds. They finally found the great northern diver at the end of the walk, right across by the Tower.
In spite of the dismal start it turned out to be a brilliant day! Thank you to Nev, Graham and all walkers.
Greylag geese, Canada geese, Mallard, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Scaup x2, Tufted ducks, Goldeneye, Goosander (f), Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coots, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring gulls, Great black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Wood pigeons, Green Woodpecker (c), Great spotted Woodpecker, Meadow pipit, Pied Wagtails x3, Grey wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Song thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbirds, Chiff chaff, Goldcrest, Wren, Long tailed tits, Great tits, Blue tits, Treecreeper, Magpie, Rooks, Crows, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Bullfinches (m,f), Reed Buntings (m,f), Yellow Hammers (m, f x 2). 52 species total