Sunday, 8 September 2013

Will(ow) we see the Yank?

The Safari picked up AB early mid-morning and set off down the motorway to a site we've not been to for at least 15 years. An hour later we stepped out of the Land Rover only to see another local birder EP walking down the lakeside path, she'd come by public transport which must have been brave on a Sunday morning.
Our quarry was an American duck that had been reported as 'well in moult' earlier in the week so it could only have been a matter of time as it can't go anywhere. The only worry was that there was going to be hundreds of Tufted Ducks to work through, or that it would be a long walk round and too much for Frank but he came good and enjoyed the longest walk he's done for quite a while, with hundreds of sniffing stops and plenty of other dogs to meet and greet he had a great time.
When we reached the general area it was a relief to see here weren't too many Tufties and no sooner had AB got his scope up he found it! Lesser Scaup (176)  in the bag.
Quite distinctive when compared to the male Tufties.
It drifted a round with them and at one point came very close being the nearest bird to us; tales had been told of it coming to bread but AB was unable to tempt it with the crusts off his butties, indeed when he approached the water's edge it turned and paddled out in to the lake.
Fortunately we avoided the downpours which was good cos we didn't have our waterproofs with us, but the light was generally poor. In between looking through the ducks we spotted a couple of Migrant Hawker dragonflies whizzing about overhead in the gap between the trees.
Ooohhhh look at the loverly vermiculations on that!
Once we'd filled our boots with the Lesser Scaup and scanned the rest of the lake, only Great Crested Grebes - lots of them - of any note we returned to the car park area, passing a family of Chiffchaffs on the way,  and went on to the feeding station hide where activity was hectic.
There were Blue Tits, Great Tits, Greenfinches and Chaffinches darting in and out of the cover on to the feeders everywhere but we missed the target species AB pointed out as soon as we entered the hide. Closer observation revealed Robins and Dunnocks including some young juveniles. At one point over 10 Greenfinches were on one table together!  Eventually male Bullfinch put in an appearance. The white 'tooth'-like thingy is a moulting tertial feather.
Rain  was lashing down in heavy showers, under the trees the light was awful.
A family of Stock Doves came in and vied with the Magpies for title of the 'Messiest eaters'.
It took a while but our hoped for species did appear. It darted in to the furthest table from us, grabbed a seed and darted out again...getting a pic was going to be tricky. It came in a few more times before we got the camera anywhere near it. when we did connect the results weren't brilliant but at least another earlier in the year dip was made good with Willow Tit now in the bag (177).
A look at the wader scrape only gave us a decent flock of Lapwings a couple of hundred strong with plenty of youngsters in it. The passing showers didn't drop the Black Tern we  hoped one of them might, in fact they didn't drop anything at all!
All to soon it was time to leave but we can guarantee it won't be 15 years before we're back - probably less than 15 weeks...hand permitting.
Where to next? Back to the joys of Patch 2 tomorrow where there are still target birds to be found before they disappear until next spring.
In the meantime let us know who's got the brightest waistcoat in your outback.
LATE EDIT - Two dead Badgers on the motorway verge today, very very seldom do we see those on this stretch of road. One was on the M55 only the second we've seen in 22 years of driving up and down that 15 mile stretch of road - coincidence????? The other was just south of the Leyland junction (28).


Stuart Price said...

Nice find re the LS.

I've never seen a badger alive or dead, anywhere, ever.

Anonymous said...

Nice one, Dave. I can clearly remember my first ever Lesser Scaup.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Me too, a great twitch over to Northern Island in '92 - cracking day out that was.
Can't believe we've not had one on the nature reserve here yet!

Stu - not seen a live one for years and the way the govt is carrying on not likey to for many more years :-(((

Warren Baker said...

Love to have that Willow Tit here Davyman, they are extinct here, as will soon be the Badgers :-(