I decided on a walk on my Newchurch Common Patch yesterday morning in the quite strong autumn sunshine, albeit with quite a heavy frost on the grass!
The female Smew was still present, this time loafing with a number of Tufted Ducks in West Bay on Big Pool, looking really smart in the autumn sunshine. Also on the same pool a Teal called from the deeper cover and 2 Little Grebes were pootling around together on the west side of the pool. Total duck counts across both pools included 28 Wigeon and 4 Gadwall, no doubt others were missed. Six Greylag Geese were in with the Canada Geese, a pretty high count for this site. A few Cormorants stood on submerged trees in the spit area, a definite sign of autumn/winter here. Several young Moorhens were also seen, a sign of a decent breeding season, good news with the knowledge that two Moorhen predators, Mink and Terrapins, exist on-site.
A Stock Dove was to the north of Big Pool over the weedy area near Dalefords Farm. A really nice sighting was a female Sparrowhawk flying over Small Pool, whilst a single Buzzard soared distantly over pines. A Raven or two were also seen amongst big numbers of mixed corvids far away to the west, whilst 2 Rooks flying over the parking area was a more unusual sighting for that species in that location. A small flock of 6 Redwings flew from trees near the Pine Belt too, the only sighting of any winter thrush species that have not been common yet this year at Newchurch.
As expected species other than birds were in short supply, the air temperature being too low for many insects now, however one noteworthy sighting was a hibernating Smooth Newt near Big Pool (pictured).