Saturday, 29 March 2014

Baikal Teal

There was not much on Rare Bird Alert last night so we decided not to go out.
I was a bit unsure of what to do in the morning, but a report of an Iceland Gull first thing at Amwell decided it for me. Did not expect to see it, as any interesting gulls present overnight usually depart very early, but as it turned out it wasn't there anyway. There has been a dodgy pale Herring Gull with white wings for some time and someone put it out as an Iceland. Shame really as it was just about the only interesting bird there all morning.
The usual pair of Redshank were flying around, there are still some winter ducks and the Cormorant/Heron/Egret colony is very busy as usual. The number of Black Headed Gulls is building up as well, they will no doubt take over the Tern rafts again.
I walked around to Hollycross with Mick Cotton and Tony, picking up several Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. A pair of Bullfinch were seen near the Ash bridge, and there was a nice Rainbow Trout under the bridge (we also saw Pike and a nice Long Tail Tit nest from the main bridge over the Lea Navigation). Butterflies were also out-mainly Peacock and Comma with one or two Brimstones.

Not long after I got home Colin phoned which is when I found out about a Baikal Teal at Fen Drayton. Having missed the accepted bird at Minsmere and not been able to get to the recent Lancashire bird we had to go even if the escape spectre is so high, so after something to eat, Colin came and we headed up the A10 arriving around 1500.
There did not seem to be many birds on the walk to the hide, in fact most of the pits seemed rather empty not that you could see much from the path. Bumped into Royston Dave and his mate trying to locate a Blackcap in a dense bush and had a brief chat before heading down to the hide. William, Ron Cousins and Ray Hooper were already there, and it turned out that Derek Ling had been visiting the reserve when the bird was announced.
The Baikal Teal turned out to be asleep on a small island a long way off. A couple of times it moved it's head, and once it stood up treating us to a full profile-fully winged and no rings so it's got a chance. Too distant for the camera, and the RX100 battery was dead so I tried the iphone through the scope with poor results. Some Wigeon, Teal Snipe and diving ducks in the area. Two Avocets, one Oystercatcher and my first Little Ring Plover of the year were on a different island. 
No sign of the drake Scaup and Garganey present on a different lake.

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