Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Two ticks & a DBWPS trip

On Sunday, after spending my 3rd morning in Mudbank Lane looking for the Scaup, I checked Birdguides to find that it was at at Bowling Green Marsh. I jumped in the van  and headed straight over there. At first the hide was full due to an RSPB event, but I managed to get a distant & not very satisfactory view of the Scaup. I went for a wander up to the platform & Goatwalk before returning to the hide to find it nice and quiet with just one birder sketching a wigeon. I found a duck which I thought was the Scaup over the far side of the pond & the other chap agreed. He turned out to be very knowledgeable & helpful, and when the Scaup obligingly swam up the channel towards the hide he pointed out the features that distinguish if form a Tufted Duck, including the small patch of grey on its back that identified it as a 1st winter male.

The Scaup swam up the channel towards the hide giving us an excellent view
On Monday I went in search of Seaton's Cattle Egret which had just reappeared on Birdguides after not being mentioned for a while. I parked at the cemetery at Black Hole Marsh & walked to Colyford Common LNR where it had been reported, wishing I'd worn wellies. From the hide I saw a couple of egrets in a cow field by the A3052, and although they were a long way off and partly obscured by vegetation, I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the Cattle Egret's distinctive yellow bill. I walked around to the road and had a better, but still not great, view from the platform of the Colyford Tramway.
It 's the minute white spot above the far right fence post!
I had the Canon with me so at least you can see what it is.
The Egret then walked behind the hedge so I continued along the road hoping for a better view. The bird was nowhere to be seen, but I did bump into Karen of  'Wild Wings & Wanderings' ( I've been enjoying her blog for ages, so it was really nice to actually meet her. The Cattle Egret was out of view for ages but then reappeared, flying across the field with a Little Egret to mix with the cows. Karen got much better photos by digiscoping than I could manage with the Canon & she gave me a quick lesson. I gave it a try but I obviously need to practice as I couldn't even get the Egret in the view screen!
Synchronised nibbling
Karen in action...
Yesterday there was a DBWPS meeting at Roadford Lake, which is West of Dartmoor & not far from Cornwall. It's actually a large reservoir, the only non-acidic 'mud-bottomed' reservoir in Devon, or at least it was when my 'Where to Watch Birds' book was written. I'd never been before so it was nice to explore somewhere new. We met at the dam car park but then drove to the reserve area at the  North end of the reservoir. We started off in the hide near the Southweek Viaduct. There was virtually no 'edge' due to very high water levels, so the only waders we found were 2 Snipe, along with a couple of Wigeon, Tufted Ducks & Great Crested Grebes. We then walked to Toft where we found 3 female Goldneye, my first of the season, as were the Fieldfares which flew over in several large flocks. We found another female Goldeneye on our way back across the viaduct. After lunch it started to rain so we just had a short walk in the woods South of the hide where we added Lesser Redpoll & Siskin to the list. That took my total for the day to 42 species, although unfortunately despite our best efforts, that didn't include a Willow Tit.
View from the dam end....the reserve area is at the other end.
View across the Southweek inlet (DBWPS hide just visible on the water's edge)

Year list total now on 207.

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