Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 21st December 2015:-
The decline of the Shoveller Duck continues. I haven’t seen any on my monthly counts this winter. The last high December count was 42 birds in 2005. To see their characteristic co-operative flock feeding behaviour one has to go to the Barnes Wetland Centre these days. It’s too early to call it a trend, but the number of Mute Swans has dipped below 40 for the first time since March. I wonder if the mild winter has caused some birds to depart to breeding sites elsewhere. Or, it might be that there is less waterweed to feed on this winter than last. The other waterweed feeder, the Coot, has averaged 75% of last winter’s numbers. Canada Goose numbers remain high, today at some 55 birds, but again outnumbered by Greylags, with a count of 70 being nearly double any previous December count. Song Thrushes are singing in both woodlands and also in the trees beside the tube line near the tennis courts. As usual in the winter, the birds that feed out on the short grass are mainly in the Stadium: 85 Woodpigeons, but only about 30 Starlings. The decline of the Starling may be over, as the last two years have seen somewhat greater numbers than were present in the previous ten. The same is true of the Cormorant, with a count of 15 being higher than in recent years. Three Stock Doves were looking for places to breed in Horse Close Wood. They use holes in trees. A grey wagtail was visiting the brook. The very mild weather hasn’t yet produced any unseasonal flowers, but the leaves of bulbs are poking through in the hedgerow north of the Revelstoke Road car park.