Monday, May 20, 2019

Baikal Teal (record shot)

On Saturday (18 May), I went to look at March Farmers from the north bank of the Nene, east of the Cross Guns pumping station (where the footpath goes down to Ring's End). I figured I would be a bit closer to any waders which have been hanging around in a flooded field half a mile or so east of the MF car park. Unfortunately, the only passage waders were a few Greenshanks. Avocets were using the river as a commuter run between the feeding areas and their nests a little west of the MF car park. It was along there that I snapped the Scarce Chaser (see below on the blog).
Just as I got back to the car and was heading off, I thought I would quickly check the flooded area west of the MF car park, to see if anything interesting was around. This is the area where the Baikal Teal had been in the first week of the month. It hadn't been reported since 7 May. But, a. We have very few birders checking this area, b. Birders are quick to abandon a place after negative news, c. It could be very elusive during its earlier 'showy period' d. the water levels had got pretty low, so there were more hiding places; bu the recent rain had increased the flood. So, I thought there was a chance that it would still be around. I was right.
I later stood and watched it and tried to get a visiting birder on it (it only took 2.5 hours!). As we scanned, we had a few groups of Ringed Plovers and Dunlin pass through (perhaps 30 RPs and 20 Ds), Greenshank, drake Garganey and four Ruffs (including a fascinating bared-faced blond male), distant booming Bittern and about 10 Cranes. The teal was a sleepy bird and it had been hunkered down among Water Mint or some such plant (probably the only time it wasn't with its best mate a drake Wigeon, with which it exchanged the odd display move)

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