Alton Water and Christchurch Park, Suffolk, 1 February 2016

Pinch punch first of the month!
And with it a trip down into deepest Suffolk for a days birding.
I headed for Alton Water first and parking at Tattingstone Wonder I strolled down to Larch Wood Hide to the feeders there. The feeders were buzzing with at least 8 Lesser Redpolls, 1 male Brambling, and loads of the common tits plus Coal Tit, Chaffinches, Dunnock and Robin. I spent a while enjoying the spectacle which I had all to myself.
Down at the main visitor centre I baulked at paying the £3 daily carpark charge and used the sailing club carpark instead. From there I picked out the Great Northern Diver but little else so quickly headed back to Tattingstone Wonder ready to don my boots and hike looking for grebes. I met another birder here (nice to meet you Paul!) and together we walked east towards Rabbit Wood. Eventually we picked up the 2 Black-necked Grebes looking back towards the dam where the Great Northern Diver was still lingering, a Kingfisher whizzed by and then on the walk back I picked up the Red-necked Grebe off Larch Wood having checked dozens of Great Crested Grebes. Other than a single Goldeneye and some Tufties that was it.

With time getting on I quite the scene and headed through the Ipswich traffic to Christchruch Park. The resident Tawny Owl was sadly absent but the pond area came up trumps with 3 Goosander (1 drake), plenty of gawdy Mandarins, Kingfisher, c20 Siskins in alders and a strangely confiding Stock Dove. A Little Grebe there also made it a 4 grebe day.



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