14 March 2010

Two out of three.

Today was the day I would - in theory - finally get onto the female Ring-necked Duck (first spotted at Slimbridge, but recently resident at Frampton Court Lake).

Despite a long day at the football yesterday, I was out of the house before 7.30am and aside Court Lake before 8.00am. A cloudless sky was both a blessing and a curse. Lovely to see some sun, but the view western shore of Court Lake of course faces into the Sun... rendering the ducks at best false colour and at worse silhouettes. No sign of the duck. But... I did notice a large increase in the number of singing Greenfinch.

By 9.45 I'd had enough. Despite checking the south end of the lake too, the Ring-necked Duck was, for now, elusive. I was beginning to think I'd left it too late.

Off to Slimbridge for the Greenland White-fronted Geese and the Pink-footed Goose. As is my wont, I contrived to not see the Pinkfoot, despite checking everywhere from each hide. Alas, on my return home this afternoon I learned it was there - somewhere - having remained on the reserve as (what seemed like) all of the European White-fronted Geese departed overnight.

The view from the Holden was very empty. But...away from the Greylags, up on the bank in the mid-distance were the Greenlands! Phew. Got some excellent views, and another piece of I.D. experience under my belt.

Alas, my photo doesn't really show the bright orange on the bills. But they were definitely a nice orange. It does at least show the bills aren't pinky.

I toured all the hides - clocking up (amongst others) Redshank, Lapwing, Wigeon, Shelduck, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lapwing, a Buzzard and a Little Egret.

But I wanted that Ring-necked Duck, so at about 1.00pm I headed back to Court Lake. Along the Western shore I was once again disappointed, but did note larger numbers of small ducks on the far side - of course viewable from the south edge. A little disheartened, I did some more thorough checking (finding a pair of Mandarin Duck in the process) and then went around the other side.

Before I got to the shore I ran into an obliging Buzzard perched in the trees:

I made my way through the trees to the edge of the lake.

It took no more than 30 seconds of scanning a group of Tufted Ducks (not visible from the other side) to locate todays target bird. Hoorah! Lovely views. It was no more than 25 yards away. Occasionally it dived, but mostly it preened.

Since I can't add the Greenland White-fronted Geese to my year list, and I missed the Pinkfoot (grrr....), I can only up my score by one to 106.

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