Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Some Spring Movement

20th March - I missed Oystercatcher and Sand Martin over the weekend but found some new arrivals today, though not very exciting.

I counted 8 singing Chiffchaffs around the pit and it was nice to hear Blackcap song again, with a male singing along the railway hedge.  Whether this is a genuine migrant or an over winterer on the move, who knows, but it was a patch year tick for me.  Meadow Pipits were much in evidence, with a small party of 14 birds foraging in the meadow and a steady trickle of a further 18 birds all moving NW.  The meadow also held a flock of 33 Fieldfares with 3 Mistle Thrushes mixed in.

As I walked to the eastern bank, I noticed that a female Tufted Duck near the bay by the workings sported a green nasal saddle.  I had seen such a bird in the Autumn for a single day only on October 26th.  It had been ringed at St Philbert de Grand Lieu just south of Nantes about 400 miles south of Little Marlow on 1st December 2010.

Last year's bird
The green saddle is actually faded blue!  Whether today's bird was the same, I'm not sure, as it spent pretty much all of its time with its bill in its back.  When I did catch a glimpse, the side code did appear to be FK, but I'm not certain.  The plumage certainly looked similar, but then it's a female tufty!  I hope that it stays so that the code can be confirmed - if it is the same, I wonder where it spent the Winter, as I am not aware that it has been reported since last October.

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