An Enjoyable Weekend

On my way home from work yesterday I had a look at Wroughton Reservoir guessing that there may be more birds here than usual as it stays clear of ice longer than other local waters. I was right as there were over eighty Tufties and more than thirty Gadwall along with Mallard, Coot, gulls and just four Little Grebe. Later on in the afternoon I took the dog for a walk at Coate Water. I was expecting most of the lake to be frozen but what was a surprise was that the water level on the main lake is very low. I assume it has been drained down for some maintenance work to be carried out. There was one good area of clear water and this had a lot of birds on it. There was a good mix of ducks, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted, Teal and Pochard. plenty of Coot, a few Moorhens on the margins, thirty-six Mute Swans, Great Crested Grebe and Cormorant made up the rest. The water on both sides of the causeway was frozen apart from a small patch from which two swans were trying to climb out onto the ice from. From here I could hear but not see Teal so decided to walk along to the far hide. From here I could see that almost all of this lake was also iced over with one small open area to the left and a larger one along the far bank. The first had around fifty Coot and a few Wigeon whilst the one along the far edge was full of Teal. I estimated well in excess of three hundred.There were also a handful of Herons. Today after a bit of a lie-in and breakfast in bed the wife, myself and the dog headed off for Bradford-On-Avon for a walk along the canal. We had a quick look at the Mill Pond at Box hoping for a Dipper but with no luck. At Bradford we set off along the canal which was well frozen in places. Have to say that living on a canal boat seemed even less appealing in these conditions. As we were walking a Kingfisher came through the trees from the river and landed in a tree just across the canal giving us great views. We stopped at the Avoncliff Aqueduct to eat our lunch, it was quite noisy due to some major tracklaying work on the railway but this gave an additional point of interest. We walked all the way to the road bridge near to Freshford, admiring some lovely canalside properties on the way. Here we turned back and retraced our steps to Avoncliff where we dropped down to the riverside path before returning to Bradford. By now we were hungry so went to Poppies Tea Rooms where, as we had muddy boots, we sat outside and enjoyed a great cream tea. Then it was a quick wander around the town before walking back to the car and heading home. Other than the Kingfisher the best bird was an overflying Raven, other than that it was a mix of tits, Robins, Wrens and finches.

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