Thursday, July 24, 2008

Winter visitors return to Millbrook

Mrs The Millbrooker and I took a stroll yesterday evening as dusk was drawing over Millbrook. We just pottered gently around the lake, and I took along my new (and spectacularly good) binoculars. Thank you to Mrs The Millbrooker for the belated birthday present.

Not much was happening birding-wise on the lake, but we did notice a couple of the regular over wintering species have made an early return. We wouldn't normally expect to see them until late August or even early September, but swimming about all on his lonesome was a little grebe (AKA dabchick). These are normally sociable and like to bob about in groups of anything up to fifteen or twenty towards the centre of the lake at the dam end. Just the one has arrived back after the breeding season (perhaps he just didn't get lucky and has come home in a huff). I didn't take the photo below (how I wish I had), it's just to help identification should any readers go looking.
Also back, but in greater numbers, are some redshanks; little wading birds normally seen at the upper reaches of the tidal creek below the dam and easily spotted at the water's edge hunting for small crustaceans in the mud.

Last night they were settling on the wooden piles by the island in the lake, lined up nicely - one to a post. At a guess there were twenty or so of them. Here's a shot, for identification by any interested Millbrookians, again not one of mine.
Spellcheckers are great aren't they? The one on this blogging site suggests that the word redshank doesn't exist and should be replaced by "redneck". Yes, indeed, perhaps I'm wrong and there were actually twenty or so rednecks on the wooden piles in the middle of Millbrook lake last night, discussing flaming crucifixes and running moonshine across county lines to escape Boss Hog....

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