Sunday, 20 January 2013

A couple more for the list and a dodgy one

The Safari did the Sunday morning Long Eared Owl watch and succeeded in only find one of the two today. While setting up we heard Barnacle Geese going over and barely bothered to look up as we assumed they were the regular free-flying flock from the zoo but later learned that they weren't a flock at all but just two traveling high to the west which turned north along the coast - hmmm interesting! Year bird missed? Unmissed was the calling Redshank (MMLNR #69).
We then event to the nearby hide and waited for the Water Rail to show itself, it was seen but we couldn't really call it showing well - skulking well would be a much better description!
Moving round to the other side we waited for the Iceland Gull to put in another lunchtime appearance - it didn't - is it still around? But the zoo's Barnacle Geese did and had picked up a handful of Grey Lag Geese on the way from the fields out to the north east where they had presumably been feeding.
Apologies for today's dingy pictures, snow was threatening most of the day and in the air on and off around lunchtime. 

Hardly worth posting really.
With nothing much happening on the nature reserve (but there may have been some Otter prints out on the ice, a little too far out to risk treading on said thinning ice to get close ups but we'll have a look at the pics that were taken when we get to work tomorrow) we headed over to the moss again. Whilst driving the narrow road to where we parked mid-week we spotted a herd of swans on the left hand side of the road and bunked in to the nearest turn off. A 200 yard walk gave us 26 Bewick's Swans (93) with some Whoopers. We hadn't taken the camera but it was that cold in the strong icy wind we would probably have been shaking too much to get a shot off anyway :-(  We didn't stop long out there and had to drive past a huge flock of Pink Footed Geese that were in a nightmare place for viewing right at the start of the dingle track road. Which we have since found out held a 'Tundra' Bean Goose - the benefits of being on foot no doubt...but that's no excuse for not pulling over somewhere safe and getting out of the Land Rover!
Next stop was the park.
Coots are boss and we saw two of KB's ringed birds
Carrying all the kit round and needing to have Frank on a lead near the water otherwise he's be in is a bit of a nightmare so we left the scope (risky) in the Land Rover. After all were were after tree dwelling species like the Nuthatch (94) and the un-found Treecreeper.
Plenty of people were out enjoying the rain free day and chucking monstrous amounts of bread at the already satiated ducks. The gulls were having a bean-feast. Along with the lack of scope we also didn't bring the long lens out either which was a shame although the light wasn't really good enough for it. 

A different adult Herring Gull had a BTO type ring but was too far away to read it
The lake was defrosting quickly and more than 20 Shovelers were in a huddle, there's only 17 here.

Slightly more interesting was this female Red Crested Pochard (95) which is very likely a dubious year bird. It hangs around then disappears for a while, back into the zoo?)

When you don't have the scope is the time you really need it. Having a good look through the gulls for any Mediterranean Gulls we pulled up on an odd-ball Herring Gull. These pics are straight off the camera at full size - any ideas?
Couldn't manage a profile shot unfortunately.
It was an adult or very near adult and had the most sludgy coloured legs of any adult Herring Gull that we've ever seen, which is what drew us to look at it more idea what it is but probably just an 'argenteus' Herring Gull (apologies for the spelling below) at the outer range of their variability in some features.

Another good day's local birding, a few new species for the annual challenge with Monika who is racing ahead.
Where to next? Wonder what the cold has pushed towards Patch 2
In the meantime let us know what's very variable in your outback.

1 comment:

Monika said...

Nice to see you're also closing in on 100!

I may just have to come check out your owls if the ones here don't cooperate....sounds like you see them regularly?

Do you know what's up with shoveler feeding in a huddle like that? I see that here too, and was wondering if it's some type of cooperative foraging strategy?