Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Monday, June 04, 2018

Green-winged Teal, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincs

A self-found tick for me, this lovely drake was a bit of a surprise yesterday evening. It is the first Green-winged teal I have seen in the PBC area since 2010 when John Saunders found one for the second year running at Maxey pits. Prior to that, GWTs were almost annual and it seems likely that we were seeing returning birds each year (as the Maxey bird probably was), rather than new birds each year. Anyhow, that takes my PBC year list up to 178.
Incidentally, in addition to the obvious 'vertical' white flank lines (and the absence of a Teal's 'horizontal' scapular line, this drake GWT also showed: the more subtle, pale lines bordering the dark green face line (much clearer on typical Teal, particularly the upper line); what appeared to be a more pointed rear to the head (I am not sure if this is a consistent feature); and a paler undertail region (pale buff rather than yellow; again this may be individual variation). The views were not close enough to analyse the density of the vermiculations of the 'grey' flanks.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

Some weekend highlights

Black Tern, Baston & Langtoft pits (Lincs), 'wader pit', 12.5.18
Corn Bunting, Blackbush, Cambs, 12.5.18
Grey Partridge, Blackbush, Cambs, 12.5.18
Red Fox and cub, Blackbush, Cambs, 12.5.18
Knot, with Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Black-headed Gulls, Baston & Langtoft pits (Lincs), 'wader pit', 13.5.18

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Key janglers

Corn Buntings, Blackbush, near Whittlesey

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

Black-winged Stilt, Eldernell

This bird was found by the Cambs bird race team of Mark Hawkes and his crew on Saturday morning (28.4.18). I have been saying for the last few weeks that the flooded fields of Eldernell have been looking like they were going to be ripe for a stilt at around the end of April. This is the fourth time I have seen stilts in the Peterborough area.
The previous occasions (and dates) were:
Maxey Pits, 1 bird, 26 April 2009,
High Wash, Nene Washes, 2 birds, 17 April 2015,
March Farmers, Nene Washes, 5 birds, 29 April 2017

So, it would appear that late April is good time for them around here. The current Eldernell bird was unusual in that it actually stayed overnight, and these photos were taken on 29.4.18. I don't know if it is still present today, but it certainly favoured a particular spot on the washes. On Saturday morning John Saunders and I watched it being pestered and pursued by a Black-headed Gull and it appeared to fly strongly north. We assumed it had gone for good, but it was back in the same little area within half and hour or so.
Let's hope it stays until the weekend when our mob are doing a Big Day around the PBC area.
By the way, it may look like it only has one leg in these photos, but it was just that it was sleeping with the other tucked up when the Grey Heron came fishing nearby and flushed it. Its other leg looked fine (as in the bottom photo)! I believe that dark cap and dark back makes it a male. It also has a pinkish flush to the breast. It is not easy to see from these photos, but it has a grey nape, at the base of which were dark splodges, just above the 'shoulders'. This pattern and the missing feather in the left wing at the join between the primaries and secondaries should make this particular individual easy to track, if seen again...

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Thrice Bittern

The golden, bright blue lored male puffs himself up and reveals his pale epaulettes to impress the sky-pointing female
Left to right: brighter, 'dominant' male; rival male in puffed-up display mode; the female

The 'rival male' (greyish lores) sneaks off to fish away from the reeds
At the weekend I happened upon some incredible Bittern action. To cut a long story short, on Saturday: I watched a male Bittern boom for the first time in my life. I saw that male Bitterns have bright blue lores, and females greenish-buff lores. I watched a male Bittern puff himself up, reveal his whitish epaulettes, erect his crest and flirt with a female. I even watched the male booming while standing six inches from the female. They did everything but mate.
On Sunday: a third, probably younger male (paler plumage, greyer lores) joined the action, flirting with the same female, until gently seen off by the golden, blue-lored male. I watched both the younger and the brighter male booming. I saw all three Bitterns fishing; the 'younger' male even caught and ate a fish while the brighter male stood watching, only about 7m away from him.
Then an Otter turned up, spooked the three Bitterns into the open and later came back and fished in the same ditch.

Whimbrel at Deeping Lakes LWT