View Erewash Canal & Milnhay Water treatment Works in a larger map
I’ve been working very hard recently on a project for the Polish network of a telecommunications client. We presented the prototype to them this week in Warsaw and so I had a few days during which I hoped to get out at least for a few hours to see Warsaws bird-life.
The temperature was low, even for January in Poland, and saw maximums in the day of -17 degrees C, and lows of -24!
The birding spectacle started during our meeting to my surprise. We were high in an office block and as dusk fell we had thousands of corvid, Jackdaw, Rook and Hooded Crow, all strectched across the sky in a massive flock level with our window. Everyone rushed to the window with their phone cameras and the spectacle lasted about 20 seconds as the flock moved through. It was really something to witness and everyone was talking about it.
I finally got the chance to go out early Wednesday morning, at dawn. The temperature was very low and snow was falling. I headed for a local park and the main river, not too much about bird-wise and when I got to the river it was frozen as I expected (it was very wide – twice as wide as the Trent).
I headed over the tram bridge and as I went over saw paw prints on the icy river, but no animal. I carried on to where a Common Buzzard was hunting. By the zoo I had a few blue tit and hedge sparrow but not much to show for my ice cold feet so I headed back over the river.
On the way back I heard a squeaking from the ice, looking down I found the source of the paw prints – two otters! I watched them come out of a hole in the ice by a stantion and run over to the bank and wooded area there. A lovely find and an unexpected one – I’ve only seen them at a distance in Scotland.
On the other bank there was an area of clear water, and there were quite a few Goosander, Mute Swans, and a few gulls (Black Headed, Common, Herring, LBB and GBB by my reckoning). Then I had the bird of the trip – an eagle came over the water and headed down river. Very clear with my small bins was the large yellow bill, brown back and white tail with a brown band at the tip. Later inspection of my guide, and a check with the Bird Forum experts, confirmed it as a sub-adult White-Tailed Eagle (the only doubt in my mind was a Golden Eagle, due to the tail not being pure white, but the experts said WTE was much more likely). What a bird to find.
There are only 300 breeding pairs of WT Eagle in Poland and in Winter as ice freezes they will visit cities, though its a rare occurence. I spoke to one birder in Warsaw who’d never seen one, so I feel very lucky. I’ve only ever seen one in Scotland at distance on a guided tour - this was a much better view, and self found! My best self-found bird to date.
Erewash Canal. 40 Black-Headed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, 3 Common Gull, 5 Redwing, Sparrow Hawk. Bennerley Marsh. 58 Wigeon, 32 Teal, 65 Lapwing, 60 Black-Headed Gull, 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pheasant, 2 Green Woodpecker, 2 Woodcock [after dark] Milnhay Water Treatment Works. Merlin, 55 Pied Wagtail, 70 Jackdaw. North marsh. 7 Snipe, 6 Goosander. Chat Corner. Kestrel, Barn Owl.