Sunday, 28 February 2010

Ducks in the distance

After the dreach start to the weekend got out at Saturday lunchtime to find a flock of 81 Wigeon on Prestwick Carr along with a handful of Mallard and Teal. The Lapwings and Golden Plover were in close attendance but everything was at a distance. One drake Wigeon remained this morning calling for its chums who must have moved off overnight, I suspect to the Horton Grange flash which has begun to reform.
I decided to head off for more duck soup with the GWT at Druridge calling in at Banks Pond on the way to find two pairs of Tufties (No.67 for 2010) and a pair of Mute Swans.
After wading in to the Budge hide I was guided to a sleeping Green winged Teal by AA and some other birders and waited to get a better view. If you look very closely you can just see the vertical white flash.

Half an hour later and still the bird slept but I returned the the favour locating the bird for Paddy and an enthusiastic couple undaunted by the craptastic view. About ten minutes after they left the bird finally awoke, came out of the grass, pirouetted twice proving its identity beyond doubt then headed back in to cover. Oh well such is birding.
After fish and chips at Amble called in at East Chevington in the hope of Bittern, Hen Harrier but views over the south pool were bleak. Then over the reeds two white ghosts appeared and started hunting into the wind. I was expecting Short eareds but these were definitely Barn Owls so headed off to try and get a pic or two. Walking up the path toward the reed bed one of the birds appeared from the dunes clutching prey and headed off to eat its prize. I stayed on the path not wishing to disturb their hunting given the continued harsh conditions and was rewarded when one bird hunted up toward me and I got a snap or two but there was a squall coming in off the sea and the light was going fast so that was it.

This morning still dull but a Little Grebe (No68 for 2010) and two pairs of Canada Geese were on Banks Pond indicating a return to their breeding site and even a Skylark was singing. Let's hope that spring will hurry along too!

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