Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Double Duck Dip

Trans-Atlantic wildfowl have pissed me off three times in the last few
days. A drake surf scoter wintering at Musselburgh, just 4 miles from
where I was staying in Edinburgh at the weekend, refused to
materialise despite my two attempts to see it on consecutive days; and a couple of
days later back down south a green-winged teal gave me the slip at Fen
Drayton. Really, how rude!

There were some decent ducks about though. The Firth of Forth is an
excellent area for wintering velvet scoter and at least 50 were
present on a my second visit, spread over a large area in singles,
pairs and small groups of up to 5 or 6 birds. I checked the drakes for the apparent Stejneger's seen in December but without success. I wonder where that got to?

Melanitta submarinus

There were good numbers too of other wildfowl - at least 30 long-tailed ducks, a flock of 10 RB
mergansers and a minimum of 8 slavonian grebes (one in breeding getup)
and just a 5 minute walk from my temporary digs, 3 goosander gave me
my closest ever views of the species.

Bad hair day!

Sadly there was no time to go through the gulls at Musselburgh but I did come across this oddity sharing the park lake with the goosander.
More pics of this to follow in a later post I think, but for now I haven't a scooby doo as to what it is and fear the dreaded 'H' word may be about to rear its ugly head, and not for the first time in recent months. If you think it's just a lesser, look again as there are a number of features that don't seem quite right, to me at least!

Down in Cambs I left Fen Drayton and deliberately ignored another rare American duck, choosing to drive past nearby Earith Washes' drake American wigeon in favour of a catch-up with that marvellous water pipit roost at Sutton Gault. I was the only person present so there were no witnesses to my log of a new county record of 32 water pipits sat in an oak tree, something I never expected to see in the fens! 31 birds had been recorded the night before but it remains to be seen whether this roost will continue to grow or will vanish overnight (heading south, the opposite way to most other migrants!), as we are well and truly into spring now and I've already recorded my first singing chiffies and blackcaps and seen my first butterflies of the year. Bring it on!

sunset over the fens

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