Sunday, January 9
Rutland Water - Saturday afternoon
As mentioned in an earlier post, 2011 is about seeing and adding new birds/wildlife to my 'life' lists. So with the drake American Wigeon reported all week (up to Thursday) at Rutland Water it had been 'flashing' on my radar. I took the gamble of going for this bird with the full knowledge that "this was going to be your only weekend pass until February!" per the wife. So Rob and I set off at One and headed the hour and 15 minute jaunt up the A1. We arrived in Whitwell Car park and meet the only other birders we saw all afternoon, who'd given the 300 plus Wigeon flock (feeding on the grass in the creek) a grilling but could not locate the American bird. So we then set about working are way through them. We'd managed about 3 scans each when a Crow spooked the whole flock and were then helped by a Black-headed Gull, all the birds flew out the creek and onto the main water. Rats. So we started to head towards the ferry terminal to try for another look. As we walked through part of the boat yard. Rob shouts "do you still need Siskin for the year?" I replied, not stopping "yes but I'll wait and tick if off back in MK" and carried on. Rob stopped to grill the Siskins (quite rightly). So I finally stopped and raised my bins to have a quick look. He said "about 15 to 20 but no Redpolls". But from my position further up the path ahead of him I picked out a larger paler/whiter bird.....heart beat now raising....the bird finally showed the classic 'Redpoll' on it's forehead. I said "I've found a Redpoll but it ain't ginger!" Rob caught up and we grilled the larger/paler/whiter Redpoll. We were hoping to see a 'ginger' Redpoll (Lesser) alongside for comparison but none were seen but another 2!!! 'whiter/paler/larger Redpolls. We worked our way through the differences, took some photo's and I even digiscoped some footage via my mobile phone. Everything was spot on for classic Common 'Mealy' Redpoll (a lifer for me :) (later that night we sent all the evidence to Si to get verified and he was more than happy with the i.d. ((even if my mobile video footage was pants!)) - result!) By now we'd spent 30 minutes looking at the Mealies, the Wigeon flock had moved back onto the grass to feed but a long way off on the other side of the creek. With time and light running out and happy with the lifer I was happy to let the yank Wigeon go. We headed off up the road to Barnsdale and after about 10 minutes scanning the water Rob picked out the 3 reported Slavonian Grebes in deep water and diving a lot. I then picked out a drake Red-crested Pochard. We didn't see the long staying Long-tailed Duck which was later reported on Bird Guides at the same time we were there?!? With sunset gone we headed off, chuffed with finally bagging Common Redpoll - just need to get one in Bucks now ;-). The yank Wigeon can wait and now goes on my 'dip' list.