Monday, March 31, 2014

Double Duck - Baikal Teal & American Wigeon

Took the opportunity today to head out into the Cambridge fenlands.  The draw being a mega Baikal Teal and the outside chance of connecting with an American Wigeon.

A first visit to Fen Drayton RSPB reserve and I was mighty impressed with this site.  The reserve is a complex of lakes, all of which look great for birdlife.


The target bird was a fifteen minute walk from the main car park.  En route, a couple of Blackcaps were singing from the scrub and two smart male Bullfinch flew across the guided busway.  On the water, at least three drake Goldeneye were still present with a few females.

From the hide overlooking Moore Lake (pictured above), the drake BAIKAL TEAL showed well in the bay behind the small islands.  A stunning bird, its credentials questionable, but maybe a future armchair tick. A Little Ringed Plover flew onto one of the islands in front of the hide.  At least four Cetti's Warblers were singing around the reserve.



On the walk back, a male Marsh Harrier flew over.

Pushed for time, I headed north to the Ouse Washes and a small village called Pymoor for my second target bird. I didn't really have much idea where the specific location was but having followed the road through the village, to my surprise, it was relatively straight forward.  The distances are vast here, but the drake AMERICAN WIGEON was located feeding amongst the Eurasian Wigeon and showing well in the marsh.

There were plenty of duck with large numbers of Wigeon and Teal with the Shoveler, Gadwall, and Pintail. A female Marsh Harrier caused brief chaos amongst the wildfowl.  A flock of around twenty Fieldfare were chattering away in the field behind the bank.

The marsh opposite Four Balls Farm turned out to be successful despite missing out on Garganey that had been seen earlier on in the day.  A stunning male and female Marsh Harrier were hunting in the vicinity, a single Whooper Swan was seen preening amongst the Mute Swans, a Ruddy Shelduck fed amongst a couple of Common Shelduck, fifteen Ruff flew through, and four Common Snipe flew up from the marsh.

Below is a video clip of the Baikal Teal.



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