Saturday, December 20, 2014

Local Birding

It had been a while since I had ventured onto the patch - a mixture of apathy, weather, work - being lulled into feeling that this more like the sporting off-season.  The end of November, and December feels a bit transitional.  It is a time of year where surprises can be found on local patches.  I remember my first ever Leach's Petrel on Startop's Reservoir (Tring) in early December back in 2006.  Not that I was thinking that similar fortunes would fall my way.

So anyway, a combination of a tough end to a working week, blue winter skies, and a text from @jarpartridge - I headed up to Lockwood where the light was brilliant, the breeze brisk, and the prescence of a good selection of birds.

Approaching Lockwood, a vocal Kingfisher flashed past me along the channel, and a male Sparrowhawk flew low eyes fixed on its prey.  A few Common Gull were mixing in with the Black-Headed Gull but no sign of the Med that had been seen the previous day.

A patch tick for me were the Goldeneye, a drake and two female bobbing on choppy waters.  Heading round the Maynards, a few Teal were sheltered within the small islands, with Common Pochard and Little Grebe.  A couple of Grey Wagtail flew through.  A wintering Common Sandpiper alighted from the shoreline of High Maynard.

Moving onto No.4, the main target was the Scaup associating with a raft of Tufted Duck and seen very close into the shore.  A lovely adult drake, not often seen at such close range, but the diagnostic head shape, bright yellow eye, black nail on the tip of the bill, and the delicate mottled pattern on the sharp grey mantle were all observed brilliantly through the scope.

Around 40 Shoveler were present on East Warwick and No.1 (30 & 10), with another drake Goldeneye present on no.1.  There were also around 15 Gadwall there.

Must return soon.

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