Monday, 24 November 2014

Not so Ruff!

24th November - I paid a quick pre-work visit to the patch this morning.  It was the first properly cold morning of the season, with temperatures barely above freezing.  The lake was shrouded in mist, though it was patchy and lifting, so not too much of a hardship.

I stood on the west bank and methodically scoped the birds on the spit and the lake.  A small group of seven Snipe on the left side, half hidden in vegetation, was a slight increase on recent counts.  Egyptian Geese seemed quite numerous amongst the Greylags and a quick count found 76 birds present - a reasonable total.  Otherwise, it was the usual fare - Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall dotted on and around the spit, a few Pochard and Tufties on the water amongst the Great Crested Grebes and large numbers of Black-headed Gulls and Lapwing.

The Lapwing would spook occasionally, as they always do and many hundreds of birds would wheel about before descending back to the spit.  Whilst they were in the air, I gave them a quick scan with bins to check for waders, as I was conscious that a Dunlin had been seen on Saturday, but I didn't notice anything through the mist.

My quick visit came to an end and I began to walk back to the car park, stopping briefly to check for a Water Rail that was 'kipping' away in the NW reed bed.  As I stood, I looked up to see a small flock of about 20 Lapwing flying past heading NW.  Amongst these was a medium sized wader.  Its size, flight action, long wings, long neck, mid sized slightly drooping bill and obvious broad white base to the tail, revealed a nice Ruff.  I would say it was probably a male due to its size.  It continued to fly through with the Lapwing and I soon lost it behind trees.  It did not appear to return, but as the sizeable Lapwing flock is ever present at this time of year, one to look out for over the coming days.

Other birds of note from last week have included a couple of nice flocks of Golden Plover - 150 last Tuesday and 70 last Wednesday.  Both of these have just flown over and eventually flown off north.  A 3rd winter Caspian Gull visited the pre-roost  on the 19th.  I was unlucky here, because I had worn a thick jacket in the morning as it was cold and put my camera in the inside pocket.  In the afternoon, I had worn a thinner jacket and forgotten about my camera, so when the Casp appeared early afternoon in good light, I could have taken some nice shots of it, but alas it was not to be.  This is the first 3rd winter I have seen on the patch.

A Coal Tit has taken to feeding at the cottage feeders and can be seen on most visits - not an easy bird to see on patch.  2-3 Water Rails are frequently vocal and can be seen with patience in the west and NW reed beds.

Finally, a couple more white darvic ringed BHG have been seen.  One is a new bird and is from a Polish scheme, details awaited; the other is from a Danish scheme and was also seen last year, though I have never been sent any detail - I keep trying!

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