Friday, 23 October 2009

Penelope pit-stop

Despite the wet weather I braved a walk around Buttertubs today, which wasn't without its rewards.
Having spent the past God-knows-how-long searching through flocks of Eurasian wigeon for their American counterparts on muddy estuaries in northern Britain, the tables have now turned and chestnut heads and grey flanks are the target...
Following up (yet again) on the report of a penelope at Buttertubs that I received from a visiting Ontario birder I met at Nanaimo River estuary a couple of weeks ago I scanned the yankie wigeon flocks and at last spotted something gingery amongst the masses. However, once I got my scope onto it I heard alarm bells.
This particular drake is a very odd looking bird indeed and I suspect it's a hybrid. I'm not entirely convinced that it's a simple 2 wigeon job either as it lacks any clear crown stripe, though the flanks are both grey and blotched pink. Whatever, it certainly doesn't appear to be a straightforward Eurasian wigeon anyway. I'll have to do better than that!

Still around 20 American coot and similar number of gadwall on the pools plus 30+ wood duck, 3 ring-necked duck (1m, 2f), a few green-winged teal and good numbers of mallard.

The female northern harrier was making a commotion on the reed edges as she pulled apart some hapless bird that I'd just missed her kill - couldn't quite make out the victim, although it was formidable, possibly a teal.
A male merlin shot through.

Also present around the place were a couple of yellow-rumped warbler, a fox sparrow, plenty of red-winged blackbirds, flickers, robins etc.

1 comment:

  1. Ray here... Big flock of Canadas on the main Freeman's pool this evening, 200+. I was really wol-spotting but wols there were none, not surprisingly in the wind and rain. I met Graham, whom you know, and he reported an "owl" over the river a few days ago. Eek, it's that weasel word"reported" again. As you may have seen, Aldcliffe is not alone in its "goldcrestabsence" state. Best wishes from Ray in his windy attic.